Arkansas Sues Opioid Manufacturers for Public Safety Resources Impacts

Arkansas, 72 counties and 210 cities filed a joint suit in the Circuit Court of Crittenden County against opioid manufacturers, citing an overwhelming impact on public safety resources.

According to a joint announcement by the Arkansas Municipal League, Association of Arkansas Counties and state or Arkansas, the resources of public safety officials are constantly strained to meet an overwhelming number of opioid emergencies, so they filed suit in 72 counties and 210 cities filed a joint suit in the Circuit Court of Crittenden County.

As a result, the state of Arkansas, its counties, cities and taxpayers have funded the enormous societal costs of the opioid epidemic, but have had insufficient revenue to turn the tide of the epidemic," the announcement said.

The suit named Purdue Pharmaceuticals and a host of other pharmaceutical companies that appear in numerous other cases brought by states and local governments, and represents 90 percent of Arkansas' population.

“Though other lawsuits have been filed in federal courts across the country, Arkansas is the only state that has united in this fashion,” said Chris Villines, executive director of the Association of Arkansas Counties. “Instead of fighting and competing with each other on critically needed settlement dollars for our cities and counties, all of the cities and counties are working together to do what’s best for Arkansas.”

Arkansas ranks second in the nation for ages 12-17 in misuse of opioids (4.67 percent) behind Alabama, which is also the only other state with a higher opioid prescribing rate than Arkansas, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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