Opioid Epidemic Hitting Local Governments


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone in the United States dies from an overdose of a prescription opioid every sixteen minutes. The opioid epidemic has torn through our country with a frightening pace, impacting citizens and their communities.


Since 1999, there have been more than 183,000 reported deaths, and 16,000 people die every year from prescription opioid overdoses.


In addition to the pain caused to individuals and families affected by the epidemic, municipalities across the United States have shouldered real costs in trying to combat the opioid epidemic. The annual estimated burden of opioid abuse in the United States totals over $78.4 billion dollars.


To help slow the damage being caused by prescription opioids such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed throughout the country against pharmaceutical manufacturers alleging that the companies deceived physicians and consumers about the danger of prescription painkillers.


Most of the lawsuits name manufacturers, distributors or both as defendants and allege that manufacturers are responsible for grossly excessive opioid prescription rates and that distributors are responsible for enormous amounts of diversion in the supply chain.


These cases allege a variety of local governmental harms, including excess expenditures on:


  • healthcare
  • law enforcement
  • drug treatment social programs


And decreased revenues due to:


  • employee and citizen health problems
  • lost productivity
  • reduced property and sales tax revenues


Over 1,000 cases are expected to be brought by municipalities throughout the country. Though government-led opioid-related litigation dates back more than a decade, more than 100 cases have been filed in state and federal court this year. All but one of these cases have been brought on behalf of governmental entities – states, counties, municipalities and tribal entities.

How much has your municipality been affected by this epidemic? It could be more than you think, which is why the Illinois Coalition of Local Governments recommends joining with Edelson PC, a national recognized leader in Plaintiffs’ class and mass action litigation to help lead the charge to protect our communities from the epidemic.


We recommend that all municipalities contact Edelson PC to recover the costs of cleaning up the mess left behind by the pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers. All costs are covered by Edelson PC and they are compensated based on any settlement or favorable verdict reached. To learn more, call Ari Scharg at (312) 239-3362 or visit https://edelson.com/opioid-litigation/.



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