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Justice Department Supports High-Stakes lawsuit against Opioid Makers



"We will apply criminal sanctions," Mr. Sessions said. "We will use civil penalties, and we will use all tools to hold people accountable if they violate our laws."

The lawsuit pending before the Cleveland District Court consolidates over 400 complaints from cities, counties, and county councils nationwide Indian tribes. They also blamed manufacturers, distributors and presumptive opioid dispensers for misleading marketing to promote painkillers.

The lawsuit further accuses the defendants of downplaying the addictive substance of the drugs and of abusing suspicious orders from consumers who point out drugs ,

Prominent defendants include pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceuticals, major distributors McKesson and Cardinal Health, and pharmacy chains such as CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens

. Meetings called the opioid addiction crisis "beyond any imagination" during separate comments Tuesday morning before the National Association of Attorneys General. He said the government will work intensively with doctors who over-stamp prescription painkillers, which can lead to the addiction and abuse of illegal drugs like heroin

. Sessions has described the opioid epidemic as a national health crisis and estimates that 64,000 Americans have died from drug overdoses in 2016, a record increase. The vast majority of these deaths occurred after consumers took opioids such as prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl.

He also described the opioid crisis as a significant burden on federal funds and cost the government $ 115 billion in 2017 and $ 1 trillion in 2001. He predicted that the United States would add an additional 500 in the next three years Could cost billions of dollars.

The Attorney General is legally able to argue in the name of the Government's interest in any court in the country about a declaration of interests, which does not make the government a plaintiff. Tuesday's session of Mr. Sessions followed a major dispute in the Ohio case.

On Monday, lawyers from the Drug Enforcement Administration attended a hearing in the Ohio courtroom to learn how much data they would share about the national distribution of painkillers. 19659011] The agency insisted that it did not want to endanger the ongoing criminal investigations and offered to provide information on this case over two years. Judge Dan Aaron Polster has given the agency until next Monday the decision whether to comply with his request to provide data to the sites for nine years. Determining the number of pills, location and distributors can be an important factor in assuming liability.

Richard Fields, a lawyer representing prosecutors and sovereign Native American peoples in opioid disputes, predicted that the Declaration of Interest "will help unlock this data so that we can hold manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies accountable for flooding communities with pills have. "

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