MAYOR CANTRELL ANNOUNCES CITY OF NEW ORLEANS LAWSUIT AGAINST PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES OVER OPIOID CRISIS
NEW ORLEANS – Mayor LaToya Cantrell today announced that the City of New Orleans has filed suit against pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for their conduct in fueling a national opioid crisis that has threatened the health and safety of the city. The lawsuit was filed in Civil District Court this morning.
The City Attorney’s office, led by Sunni LeBeouf, is working in collaboration with outside counsel on the suit. New Orleans had 219 accidental drug-related deaths last year; this represents a jump of 4 percent from the 211 reported in 2016, and a jump of 138 percent from the 92 reported in 2015. More than half of those victims were African Americans, up from 28 percent in 2015. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, was present in 87 of those deaths last year.
Opioid sales generate approximately $11 billion in revenue for drug companies.
However, the opioid crisis has strained City services, most notably in health- and emergency response-related services. New Orleans is not alone in this legal battle. Other neighboring municipalities have filed similar suits.
Damages alleged will be calculated based on the associated costs to the City. The actual damages figures will ultimately reveal themselves during the discovery process as the City begins requesting and compiling information.