The U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday of which a completely new task force will target the makers in addition to also distributors of prescription painkillers who, according to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have contributed to an epidemic of fatal overdoses coming from opioids by selling too much of the addictive drugs.
“We will use criminal penalties, we will use civil penalties,” said Sessions in announcing the Prescription Interdiction in addition to also Litigation (PIL) Task Force.
“We will use whatever laws in addition to also tools we have to hold people accountable if they break our laws,” said Sessions, who also said of which opioid abuse is actually “driving the deadliest drug crisis in American history.”
Sessions said he is actually ordering the task force “to examine existing state in addition to also local government lawsuits against opioid manufacturers to determine if we can be of assistance.”
“In fact, we are already getting involved in these cases. I am announcing today of which the department will file a statement of interest in a lawsuit against numerous opioid manufacturers in addition to also distributors for allegedly using false, deceptive, in addition to also unfair marketing of opioid drugs,” Sessions said.
The Justice Department said of which lawsuit is actually actually a multidistrict action involving hundreds of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers in addition to also distributors.
The plaintiffs include many cities, municipalities, in addition to also medical institutions “of which have borne the costs of the prescription opioid crisis,” the department said. “The plaintiffs seek to recover the costs associated with providing treatment in addition to also public safety measures relating to the opioid epidemic coming from those who allegedly used false, deceptive, or unfair marketing practices for prescription opioid drugs.
“The Justice Department will primarily argue of which the federal government — through various federal health programs in addition to also law enforcement efforts — has borne substantial costs coming from the opioid epidemic in addition to also seeks reimbursement.”
Sessions made the announcement at the Justice Department during a completely new conference attended by a handful of state attorneys general.
Also in attendance was Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to President Donald Trump, who is actually in charge of the White House’s campaign to stem opioid abuse.
He noted of which 2016 had seen the highest number of fatal drug overdoses by far in United States history, an estimated 64,000. in addition to also 2017 is actually anticipated to have recorded even more such deaths, Sessions said.
Most of those deadly ODs are related to opioids, either prescription painkillers, synthetic drugs such as fentanyl, or heroin, the illegal street drug.
The attorney general said a veteran federal prosecutor, Mary Daly, has been hired to lead the Justice Department’s anti-opioid efforts.
Daly, who held prosecutor posts in Brooklyn, completely new York, in addition to also in Virginia, has expertise in fighting transnational drug trafficking groups.
Session said, “These are not our last steps.”
“We will continue to attack the opioid crisis coming from every angle,” he said. “in addition to also we will continue to work tirelessly to bring down the number of opioid prescriptions, reduce the number of fatal overdoses, in addition to also to protect the American people.”