Florida will file its own lawsuit against drug manufacturers claiming they share some of the blame for the opioid epidemic that is plaguing the state.
As reported by WFSU radio this week, Attorney General Pam Bondi says her office is preparing to file suit against the manufacturers in an effort to stop “bad behavior” on the part of drug makers.
“People have been asking whether we’re joining the multi-state [case],” Bondi said. “I have been working with my counterparts across the country, but Florida is the third largest state in the country. We will be filing our lawsuit, just as we did in the BP Oil Spill because Florida deserves the maximum compensation for all the deaths that have happened in our state. We’re not going to be joining anyone else. We’re going to be doing our own lawsuit, just as we did in BP.”
Her mention of the BP case was in reference to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
It’s estimated the state’s opioid epidemic claims the lives of at least 16 people in Florida every day.
The crisis became so severe in Florida that Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in May 2017. This year, at the urging of Scott, the Legislature enacted an opioid law that aims to reduce the number of people who abuse street drugs, like heroin and fentanyl, after becoming addicted to prescription painkillers. The law places strict limits on the amount of painkillers that can be prescribed.
In 2016, there were 1,390 deaths in Florida due to fentanyl overdoses, 952 caused by heroin, 723 deaths attributed to oxycodone, and 245 as the result of hydrocodone abuse.
Bondi says her office has been interviewing outside law firms to handle the state’s case.
“We are in the last round of interviewing outside counsel to assist us in the opioid litigation,” she said.