BATON ROUGE, LA (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) - Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced on Tuesday that East Baton Rouge Parish has filed suit against five prescription Opioid manufacturers and three of the country's largest wholesale drug distributors.
Rachel Haney, Chief Communications Officer for Mayor Broome said in a press release that "manufacturing companies pushed highly addictive, dangerous opioids, falsely representing to doctors that patients would only rarely succumb to drug addiction, while the distributors breached their legal duties to monitor, detect, investigate, refuse, and report suspicious orders of prescription opioids."
Haney said, "prescription opioids are a highly addictive substance, in 1970 Congress designed a system to control the volume of opioid pills being distributed in this country. It let only a select few wholesalers gain the right to deliver opioids. In exchange, those companies agreed to do a very important job – halt suspicious orders and control against the diversion of these dangerous drugs to illegitimate uses. But in recent years they failed to do that, and today the Baton Rouge community is paying the price."
According to Haney, Mayor Broome and the Parish Council are working with a consortium of law firms to hold pharmaceutical wholesale distributors accountable for failing to do what they were charged with doing under the federal Controlled Substances Act – monitor, identify, and report suspicious activity in the size and frequency of opioid shipments to pharmacies and hospitals.
“As Mayor-President, I am determined to do everything in my power to stop this epidemic from further destroying the lives of the people of Baton Rouge,” Mayor-President Broome said. “But until we address the source of this epidemic and force drug makers and distributors to follow the law, we will continue to face an uphill battle.”
“The people of Baton Rouge continue to bear the burden of the cost of the epidemic, as the costs of treatment for addiction, education, and law enforcement have continued to rise,” Mayor-President Broome said.
The Mayor's Office said in 2017, a record number of people in East Baton Rouge died from drug overdose deaths, the vast majority of which involved opioids. EMS paramedics administered over 737 doses of naloxone to individuals who were overdosing in 2017.