JEFFERSONVILLE — The City of Jeffersonville plans to file a lawsuit against three large wholesale pharmaceutical distributors that officials claim are responsible for proliferating the opioid addiction crisis.
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore announced at a press conference Wednesday morning that the city is asking for damages from AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corp. in a public nuisance suit. The city will seek to consolidate its case with several others in Indiana and southern Ohio communities.
New Albany announced later Wednesday afternoon that it is also joining a lawsuit against wholesale distributors, according to a news release.
"We are taking this action today because the costs of this opioid crisis have overwhelmed our ability to provide for the health and safety of our residents," Moore stated in a news release. "Homes have been broken and families torn apart by this epidemic, which has claimed victims from all walks of life."
Jeffersonville Fire Department Chief Eric Hedrick said calls possibly related to opioids — overdoses, unconscious/unresponsive persons and mental distress — are steadily rising. To date this year, there have been 2,182 such calls, he said. In 2015, that number was 1,795.
In 1970, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act, which required companies to report to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration any unusually large or suspicious orders.
Jeffersonville is alleging the three distributors — which officials say together control 80 percent of the opioid distribution market — did not report suspicious orders to the DEA as legally required.