AKRON, Ohio — Citing a spike in overdose deaths, growing demands for drug treatment and a strained budget, officials here in Summit County filed a lawsuit late Wednesday against companies that make or distribute prescription opioids. On Monday, Smith County in Tennessee did the same. And on Tuesday, nine cities and counties in Michigan announced similar suits.
Cities, counties and states across the country are turning to the courts in the spiraling opioid crisis. What began a few years ago with a handful of lawsuits has grown into a flood of claims that drug companies improperly marketed opioids or failed to report suspiciously large orders. Close to 200 civil cases have been filed by local governments in the federal courts; dozens of other suits are playing out in state courts; and attorneys general from 41 states have banded together to explore legal options.