The city of Portland filed a lawsuit Thursday in Cumberland County Superior Court against 26 opioid manufacturers and distributors. Attorney Adam Lee says the lawsuit alleges that the companies orchestrated a campaign of fraud and misinformation about the addictive qualities of opioids.
Lee says the suit alleges that opioid manufacturers and distributors orchestrated a campaign of fraud, deceit, and misinformation to shape the public's perception of the addictive qualities of the drug.
"In a nutshell, the complaint is about corporate greed,” says Lee. “These folks knew what they were doing, and covered up what they were doing. And they did it to the benefit of themselves and the detriment of all of us through the opioid epidemic."
The goal is to help the city of Portland recoup some of the costs of battling the opioid crisis. If the lawsuit is successful, Portland mayor Ethan Strimling says the first priority for the proceeds would be for the city to create more treatment beds.
Portland is the first among about 17 other cities and counties in Maine that plan to file suit. Last year, 51 people in Portland died from opioid related overdoses.