The City of New York announced a $500 million lawsuit Tuesday against more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies involved in the production and distribution of opioids, alleging that taxpayers have been forced to bear a substantial burden of the opioid crisis due to increased health and law enforcement spending.
City Councilman Kalman Yeger saluted the City’s lawsuit. “The opioid epidemic has plagued our communities, our families and our city for too long,” Yeger said. “We will hold accountable those who put profit over people’s lives.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, at a press conference Tuesday, said that more than three New Yorkers die every day due to opiates and opioids. He linked those deaths to the oversupply of opioids and the deceptive marketing of pharmaceutical companies, including the makers of Percocet and OxyContin, both of which are defendants in the lawsuit.
“I’m grateful that Mayor de Blasio is taking this vital step, and I’m proud to support his efforts. In addition, I pledge to use my own office in every way I can to combat this crisis,” Yeger said.
Yeger is committed to continuing his predecessor’s support of organizations focused on helping families facing the plague of the opioid crisis. “Councilman David Greenfield was our foremost advocate on this important issue, and I plan to continue his work,” Yeger said.
With 2.7 million opioid prescriptions filed by New York City doctors in just the three year period from 2014 to 2016, the opioid crisis has affected every neighborhood in the five boroughs, including Midwood and Boro Park. Last summer, the fatal overdose of a 20-year-old Boro Park resident focused the community’s attention on the crisis.
Among the many policy steps taken by City officials to curb the alarming rise in overdoses is distributing 60,000 doses of Naloxone, which cost taxpayers $38 million. Overdose rates doubled in New York City between 2010 and 2016.
“These defendants make millions upon millions from opioid prescriptions, and New York taxpayers are footing the bill. Even worse than the heavy financial toll, we’re losing our friends and neighbors to this epidemic. This needs to stop now, and the Mayor’s lawsuit is the first step,” Yeger said.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)