State Attorney General Eric Schmitt says 130 people die every day from opioid overdoses.
“That’s like a plane going down every day of every week of every month,” he says.
In Missouri, he says the opioid overdose death toll is one in every 65 deaths. Missouri is the only state in the nation without a statewide prescription drug monitor system to check for suspected cases of opioid misuse.
At the State Fair, Schmitt tells Missourinet the figures should have some national and statewide urgency – prompting his office to sue three opioid companies alleging they misrepresented the addictive nature of the drugs.
“We want to hold them accountable. That’s a big thing for our office. It’s probably one of the biggest lawsuits we’ve had in the Attorney General’s Office since the tobacco litigation of the 1990s,” says Schmitt. We’re one of about 30 states that has something like this happening. All of those things are kind of coming to a head now. We’re learning more about some of the tactics and the marketing tactics and some of the deception that took place to get people hooked.”
The parties are developing their cases and the lawsuit is expected to eventually go to trial.
Schmitt’s office has launched an initiative to help bolster the state’s lawsuit. The initiative, called Real Opioid Pain, asks Missourians impacted by the opioid crisis to share their stories on realopioidpain.com