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The opioid epidemic has touched families in every corner of the country. The misrepresentations by manufacturers and distributors, perhaps best encapsulated in Sam Quinones 2015 book, Dreamland, have had a catastrophic impact that will likely never be forgotten. By 2017, more than 47,500 deaths in American were attributed to overdoses related to opioids and heroin.


Manufacturers of opioids, most notably Perdue Pharma’s Oxycontin, were marketed as a safe, non-addictive pain management drug. They based their entire marketing strategy around a 1980 white paper (New England Journal of Medicine, 1980, commonly referred to merely by its authors, Porter & Jick, which claimed that only 1% of patients treated with narcotics would become addicted. This was not the case. Between 2007 and 2012, the state of West Virginia saw more than 780 million opioid pills prescribed. Why is this alarming? Probably because the entire population of the state is only 1.8 million. To give some perspective, that would mean that every person in the state would need to have been prescribed 433 pills over that time period to reconcile the number of pills prescribed.


The epidemic has become a rallying cry for everyone from doctors to politicians to soccer moms. Attorney Generals from almost every state have filed suit against opioid manufacturers. Cities and municipalities across the country have turned to high-powered plaintiffs’ firms to represent their interests in kind. With Perdue filing chapter 11 bankruptcy to protect the company from the thousands of suits filed. This has drawn the ire of many as it has been discovered that the Sackler family attempted to hide billions in offshore accounts and companies to avoid compensating their victims. In 2017, Trump declared a “public health emergency”, and laid out details of how the administration planned to combat the growing crisis.


Firms representing counties, cities, and municipalities saw suits centralized and transferred to the epicenter of the opioid epidemic, the Northern District of Ohio (MDL# 2804), to be overseen by Judge Dan A. Polster. There have been numerous announcements of settlements between Perdue and AG’s across the country. With the landscape for large public entities now defined, many firms are now focusing on representing the population that has been most adversely affected, that of the individual claimant.

MDL Links:

  1. MDL #2804 link: https://www.ohnd.uscourts.gov/mdl-2804