City of Flint files lawsuit against drug companies over opioid crisis

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FLINT (WJRT) (2/19/2019) - The city of Flint is joining a long list of municipalities suing drug companies to seek money for the opioid crisis.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver announced the lawsuit Tuesday morning filed on the city's behalf by the Beasley Allen Firm of Alabama and CK Hoffler Firm of Georgia. More than a dozen drug companies are named as defendants.

"As we talk about moving from crisis to recovery with the water, we are not going to stand idly by and let another crisis overtake our city," Weaver said.

Weaver said the city has incurred significant cost responding to the opioid crisis over the past several years. She contends drug companies partially have fueled the crisis by flooding the streets with opioid painkillers and other drugs.

“We filed this lawsuit because, like other communities across the country, the opioid epidemic has left a terrible mark on the City of Flint,” Weaver said.

She pointed to overdoses, addictions, crime and death caused by opioids, which has cost the city's police and fire departments a significant amount of money to respond.

“While it has clearly strained our resources, and created yet another challenge for our community, I have no doubt that our resilience and persevering nature will help us rebuild in the wake of this devastating crisis," Weaver said. "But, the first step in the recovery process is to demand that pharmaceutical companies and others be held accountable.”

Hoffler said drug companies for years haven't properly investigated suspicious prescriptions for opioids so they could reap a larger profit.

“They put profits over people, and they intentionally misled doctors and the public about the risks of these dangerous drugs, and municipal governments are left struggling to cope with the consequences," he said.

The Genesee County Board of Commissioners joined a separate lawsuit involving several Michigan counties in December 2017.

RELATED: Genesee County commissioners suing drug companies for proliferation of opioids

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