The City of Reno has become the first Nevada City and the second jurisdiction in the state of Nevada to file a lawsuit against opioid drug manufacturers and distributors, as Nevada residents and municipalities deal with the ongoing opioid epidemic. The widespread use of opioid drugs has resulted in a national epidemic of opioid deaths and addictions. Local governments have been strained to the breaking point by this public health crisis.
The City of Reno retained two prominent Nevada law firms, Eglet Prince and Bradley, Drendel & Jeanney, who filed a 58-page lawsuit. Both law firms have a reputation for handling large cases in Nevada. Eglet Prince is known for obtaining some of the largest verdicts in the U.S.
Just before filing the Complaint, attorney Robert Eglet stated, “Opioid addiction impacts all people, regardless of race, gender, socio-economic background, or political affiliation. Apart from the toll on human life, the opioid crisis has financially strained the services the City of Reno provides its residents. Human services, social services, court services, and medical services, have all been severely impacted by this crisis,” concluded Eglet.
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve said, “This public nuisance has taken lives and destroyed families. The astonishing rates of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use coupled with the failure of these companies to fulfill their gate-keeping duties has caused harm to and continues to harm this entire community. This must stop. The City of Reno and this community expect and demand that these companies do right by the people of Reno. The nationwide opioid crisis is having a devastating effect on individuals, families and communities and is imposing enormous financial costs on federal, state, and local governments. I am very pleased that the City Council elected to retain special counsel and that the City of Reno is moving forward with this litigation.”
Robert Eglet added, “Drug companies have placed their desire for profits above the health and well-being of their customers and the communities where those customers live. Nevada has the fourth highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States. The public nuisance created by the Defendants’ actions is substantial and unreasonable. It has caused, and continues to cause, significant harm to the community. Reno has incurred substantial costs including: law enforcement action for opioid-related crimes, addiction treatment, and other services necessary for the treatment of people addicted to prescription opioids. These drug companies knew or should have known that the marketing of opioids would create a public nuisance. We plan to force these companies to pay for all the damage they did to our community and force the drug companies to change the way they do business,” Eglet said.
Historically, opioids were considered too addictive for treatment of chronic pain (migraines, back pain, arthritis). And they were used only to treat short term acute pain or for palliative end of life care. In the late 1990’s, and continuing today, opioids have been prescribed for chronic pain because of aggressive marketing campaigns by drug companies.