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High-profile lawyer says Tacoma has a case against opioid makers

Seattle-based attorney Steve Berman says opioid manufacturers have used a similar pattern of deception as tobacco companies. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

A lawyer who has helped state governments sue big tobacco companies says the City of Tacoma has a case against manufacturers of opioids.

Mayor Marilyn Strickland announced this week that the city is looking into possible litigation to hold opioid makers accountable for their decisions and actions.

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It’s similar to Everett’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, as the city seeks to hold the company accountable for social and economic damages to the community caused by illegal trafficking of the painkillers.

Opioid manufacturers have used a similar pattern of deception as tobacco companies, Seattle-based attorney Steve Berman says. He calls the parallels, “pretty astounding.” For example, opioid manufacturers have argued their drugs are not addictive, which Berman calls a “lie.”

Berman says the opioid manufacturers have created a “nuisance,” increasing costs to fire and police departments, and city governments as a whole. He also says it’s possible that criminal charges are brought against companies like Purdue.

Listen to the entire conversation with Berman below.

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