The city of Vancouver filed a lawsuit against major opioid producers and suppliers this week, joining a growing list of cities seeking restitution for the drug’s impact on their communities.
The 139-page lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma names the Sackler family, owners of OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma, as well as health care giant Johnson & Johnson and pharmacy Walgreens Co.
“The United States is experiencing the worst man-made epidemic in modern medical history — the misuse, abuse, and over-prescription of opioids,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff city of Vancouver, Washington, with over 175,000 residents, has been deeply affected by the crisis.”
The city’s felt the financial impact of the epidemic “through the need for increased emergency medical services, but also through increased drug related offenses affecting law enforcement, corrections, and courts, and through additional resources spent on community and social programs, including for the next generation of Vancouver residents, who are growing up in the shadow of the opioid epidemic,” the suit states.
According to the lawsuit, between 2002-2004 and 2011-2013, the number of opioid-use treatment admissions within Clark County rose 246.1 percent. From 2002 to 2006, there were 129 opioid-related deaths in the county; from 2013 to 2017, that number rose to 192.