Selectmen consider suing over opioid epidemic

Sep 11, 2019

At Tuesday’s meeting, Selectman Peter Teitelbaum brought up the many lawsuits currently being filed against the manufacturers of opioids.

“It’s all predicated on the notion that these drug manufacturers misled people, created addiction problems,” Teitelbaum said. “Municipalities are beginning to catch on and they’re suing the opioid manufacturers to try to recoup some of the money from their misrepresentations and their misconduct.”

More than 2,000 state and local governments have filed suits against Purdue Pharma, which manufactures Oxycontin.

“I would like, Mr. Chairman, at some point in the future if we could have an executive session to discuss the possibility of getting involved with this ourselves,” Teitelbaum said.

The Wareham Police Department, both fire districts, and the town’s Emergency Medical Services could likely find a way to estimate how much the opioid epidemic has cost the town, Teitelbaum said.

In the first six months of 2019, police responded to 69 drug overdose incidents, of which 7 were fatal.

Narcan was administered 42 times, and saved 42 lives.

Police also made 45 follow-up visits to  those who had overdosed. At those visits, a Wareham plain clothes police officer, licensed clinician and recovery coach visit the survivor at home.

“I think we should look into the process of seeking cost recovery from, basically, legal drug dealers,” Teitelbaum said.