Delray Beach to Sue Companies Over Opioid Epidemic

Fifth-grader Alton Banks died June 23, and he's believed to be the youngest victim of the country's opioid epidemic.

(Published Tuesday, July 18, 2017)

One South Florida city will become the first one in the state to file a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies in an effort to fight the growing opioid epidemic.

City commissioners in Delray Beach voted Tuesday to sue at least eight different makers and distributors over the financial cost for treating people who overdose, according to the Palm Beach Post.

“With virtually no help from our federal government and little from our state … cities like ours are now frantically searching for answers for our own population,” Mayor Cary Glickstein told the paper. “We’re right for turning our eyes to those who are known conspirators in this ongoing atrocity.”

City officials say it cost around $2,000 for each overdoes – with 690 being reported last year. Lawyers representing the city told the newspaper that while most overdoses are related to heroin use, officials believe that have a case because opioid pain pills – of which between 70 and 80 prescriptions are written for in Florida for every 100 residents – is an underlying problem.

The lawsuit is expected to seek damages based on claims that the companies violated several state laws, while lawyers expect other cities and counties in Florida to eventually join in as plaintiffs.