More than two dozen Rhode Island cities and towns have joined a growing legal attack against the manufacturers and wholesalers of prescription opioids.
The suit filed this week in federal court, Providence accuses drug makers of engaging in deceptive marketing to generate “wildly enormous profits” at the expense of public health.
“I’ve spent the last several months going from each town council, explaining to them what we were doing nationally and asking them to sign on,’’ Eva Marie Mancuso, the Providence lawyer representing 26 communities in the lawsuit. “So we felt that since we already had 80 percent of the state it was time to file.”
Warwick, Cranston, North Providence and Pawtucket are among the communities that have joined the case, Mancuso said. Providence and Woonsocket have not joined, she said, but could do so later.
The public nuisance and racketeering suit is part of a legal attack coordinated by a personal injury law firm based in Pensacola, Fla. Similar lawsuits have been filed around the country, including West Virginia, which has the nation’s highest opioid overdose rate.