Nevada AG Makes Opioid Litigation Announcement

Nevada And 5 Other States Suing Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma

May 15, 2018 - 12:29 pm

LAS VEGAS (KXNT) - Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt held a briefing with local media Tuesday morning to talk about his offices' efforts to combat what he called Nevada's opioid epidemic, which includes possible litigation against opioid abusers and distributors.

Laxalt was joined by Chief Deputy Mark Krueger, Senior Deputy Attorney General Laura Tucker, and founders of the Bubhugs organization, Edward and Cyndi Yenick. Laxalt alleges in a civil complaint filed Tuesday in Las Vegas that Purdue Pharma minimized risks and overstated benefits of long-term use of narcotic opioids including OxyContin.

Laxalt spokeswoman Monica Moazez says similar lawsuits were expected in Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

The AG's office said opioid abuse and misuse results in behavioral and biological health issues that affect people, families, communities, municipalities, counties, and the State Costs to the United States are estimated at more than $740 billion in crime, lost work productivity and health care each year. 

Nationwide and in Nevada, opioids, prescription and illegal, are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. In 2016, Nevada was ranked as the sixth highest state for the number of milligrams of opioids, distributed per adult according to a study by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). 

In 2016, Nevada's per capita prescription rate for opioids was 87/100 residents. Opioid-related hospitalizations have increased from 2010 to 2016 by 136 percent in emergency room encounters and 84 percent in inpatient admissions. Even with a slight decline in the number of opioid-related deaths from 2010 to 2016, 85 percent of all opioid-related deaths in Nevada were deemed accidents.