Michigan sues opioid distributors, likening them to drug dealers

Michigan passed Drug Dealer Liability act in 1994

LANSING, Mich. – The State of Michigan filed a landmark lawsuit against opioid distributors, likening them to drug dealers.

Four distributors are named in the lawsuit, including Walgreens, Cardinal Health Inc., McKesson Corporation and Amerisource-Bergen Drug Corporation.

When Michigan passed the Drug Dealer Liability Act in 1994, lawmakers likely didn’t think it would apply to drug companies. Tuesday, Attorney General Dana Nessel said it applies because the companies acted as criminal enterprises.

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Nessel filed the lawsuit in Wayne County, which her office considers ground zero in the opioid crisis in Michigan. More than 1 million pills came across the border everyday from 2006 until 2012. In 2018, 2,036 people in Michigan died from opioid overdoses.

The lawsuit requires damages of a minimum of $75,000, but Nessel said they are going for more than that. The money from the lawsuit is expected to go into programs that help opioid victims and to police and prosecutor’s offices that can’t afford an opioid unit.

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