Following the announcement that the state of Georgia has filed suit against the opioid industry for its role in a drug addiction epidemic, the city of Sandy Springs confirmed it also filed a previously discussed lawsuit over the summer last year. The city of Dunwoody says it still considering a possible lawsuit as well.
The Sandy Springs City Council had informally decided to sue in early 2018, but had not announced that it went forward with legal action.
The city of Dunwoody has been mulling joining the lawsuits since last year, but has not filed, city spokesperson Jennifer Leslie Boettcher said in an email.
“There was some discussion, but the city of Dunwoody has not joined the lawsuit – at least not yet,” Boettcher said.
Sandy Springs is suing in an effort to help stop the crisis and recoup public safety costs incurred when treating victims, City Attorney Dan Lee said.
Sandy Springs has joined hundreds of other local governments in federal lawsuits that are being heard by a single federal judge in Cleveland, Ohio, to speed them along. Georgia’s government filed under state law, it said in a press release.
The City Council instructed Lee to draft a lawsuit in March that was voted on during the summer, possibly in July, Lee said in a brief interview. However, the legislation and the date of the vote were not immediately available. The city did not make an announcement it officially filed the lawsuit, and it did not appear to be mentioned in the City Council’s meeting minutes during those months.
The state government announced it had filed a lawsuit through Gwinnett County Superior Court on Jan. 3.
“No Georgia community is a stranger to the devastating effects of the opioid crisis,” said Attorney General Chris Carr in a press release. “We are bringing this lawsuit quite simply to seek justice for the citizens of Georgia. It is imperative that we recover for the widespread damage that has been caused by this epidemic.”
Opioids are a class of addictive, often easily lethal drugs that include opium, morphine, heroin, oxycodone and fentanyl, among others. Together, they are estimated to kill over 50,000 Americans a year, and addicting many others, in a crisis that is trending upward. Street-drug versions now kill the most people through overdoses, but the gist of the lawsuits is that major drug manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies sparked the crisis with deceptive marketing and overuse of prescription painkillers.