Attorney General Doug Peterson says states have been watching the actions of those in the opioid industry for years; now they want documents from manufacturers and distributors to determine if they misrepresented how addictive some pain relievers are.
Peterson says the widespread impact has been significant.
“That’s why I think it was appropriate for so many states to come together to do this multistate investigation, because this is a nationwide crisis that we’re now dealing with, with the number of overdoses and the number of addictions that have been caused,” Peterson tells Nebraska Radio Network.
How serious is this crisis?
“To the families that experience it it’s very serious, because the addiction is so intense and it destroys lives,” according to Peterson.
Peterson says the information gathered will enable the attorneys general to evaluate whether manufacturers and distributors engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale, and distribution of opioids.
According to the AG office, pain relief opioids, either prescribed or illicit, are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths in 2015 including 126 in Nebraska, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999.
The attorneys general served investigative subpoenas for documents and information on Endo, Janssen, Teva/Cephalon, Allergan, and their related entities, as well as a supplemental Civil Investigative Demand on Purdue Pharma.
Information demand letters have also been sent to opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson, requesting documents about their opioid distribution business.
Peterson says the investigation seeks to determine if manufacturers and distributors misrepresented the effectiveness and the addictive nature of opioids.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]