18:50 GMT +321 October 2019
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    DoJ Backs Lawsuit Against Opioid Makers Over Overdose Epidemic

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Department of Justice is filing documents to support state lawsuits against drug companies for aggressively marketing and distributing opioids, which have produced the worst epidemic of overdose deaths in the history of the United States, US Attorney General Jeff Session told reporters on Tuesday.

    "I’m announcing today that the department will file a statement of interest in a lawsuit against a number of opioid manufacturers and distributors for allegedly using false, deceptive and unfair marketing of opioid drugs," Sessions said.

    Preliminary estimates for 2017 indicate that more people died from drug overdoses — primarily opioids — than the record 64,000 deaths the previous year, Sessions explained.

    Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who attended the Sessions press conference with seven other state attorneys general, called the Justice Department filing a "game changer" for lawsuits filed by 14 US states.

    "The facts are that about 20 years ago, drug manufacturers decided that they wanted a much bigger market and they went to the primary care physicians and spent hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising … to convince them that these were wonder drugs and told them at the time that these drugs were quote ‘not very addictive,’" DeWine said.

    People get addicted to prescription pain medications and continue to feed their addictions with other drugs such as heroin, fentanyl and carfentanyl (elephant tranquilizers), according to DeWine.

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    Tags:
    lawsuit, addiction, drugs, epidemic, opioids, US Justice Department, United States
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