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Lansing moves toward suing drug companies for opioid crisis

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Monday night, the Lansing city council declared the opioid crisis a public nuisance.It’s a first step toward filing a lawsuit against drug companies.

Mayor Virg Bernero has asked the city attorney to explore a possible suitto recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars Michigan’s capitol city spends annually addressing problems related to opioid addiction.

A growing number of cities and counties are weighing suing pharmaceutical makers and distributorsto raise money to deal with opioid addiction.

In Michigan, Wayne and Oakland Counties have already filed suit.    

Lansing may soon sign on to a national lawsuit expected to be filed early next year.

“There’s no downside to the city pursuing this because we are going to absorb the risk,” says attorney David Mittleman, “The only way we would get paid is if there’s a recovery. And the cost would come out of any recovery. And then a percentage for the lawyers.”

Mittleman compares the opioid suit compares with the Big Tobacco settlement in the 1990s, which generated more than $200 billion for 46 states to address addiction issues.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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