City of Reno files lawsuit against distributors, manufacturers of opioids

Photo: FDA

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, according to a statement received Tuesday afternoon.

The City of Reno has hired two Nevada law firms -- Eglet Prince and Bradley, Drendel & Jeanney -- who filed the 58-page lawsuit on September 18.

Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve issued this statement in a press release:

"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."

The complaint alleges that the abuse of opioids is a widespread problem in Nevada, and in Reno specifically.

According to the complaint, pharmaceutical companies have used deceptive marketing practices to falsely portray the risks of opioid addiction and abuse, as well as the benefits of long-term use.

The complaint says the defendants knew the addictive quality of their products and that they were subject to abuse.

The City of Reno is asking for restitution and reimbursement for the costs the City has incurred as a result of opioid abuse, according to the complaint.

This lawsuit comes on the heels of another lawsuit filed by the State of Nevada in May against pharmaceutical companies.

In a statement, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt said:

We welcome the City of Reno to the ongoing fight to curb Nevada’s opioid epidemic spearheaded by the Attorney General’s Office. Our office has been investigating opioid manufactures and distributors for the past two years in a large, bipartisan multistate group of attorneys general, and on May 11th of this year filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma L.P. and its affiliates for its contribution to the opioid crisis. The health and safety of Nevada’s communities continues to be a priority for this office, and is precisely why we launched the Prescription for Addiction program in October of last year.”

According to a spokesperson for the City of Reno, compensation for outside legal counsel is contingent on winning this case or reaching a settlement.

You can read the complaint in its entirety below.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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