Tennessee sues pharmaceutical company for allegedly shipping opioids illegally

Tennessee is suing one of the nation's largest pharmaceutical companies for its role in unlawfully distributing narcotics.

The suit alleges that AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation knowingly shipped millions of opioids to pharmacies despite having knowledge that the drugs were hitting the streets illegally.

Brett Martin, a spokesperson for the Mississippi-based addition treatment center Turning Point, said the public has a right to know these “very serious allegations.”

“We know there are a lot of pills that have hit the street, not just in the state of Tennessee," Martin said. "In Tennessee, there (were) 106 pills per man, woman and child. We have to remember it is the children being impacted by this. Either their mother or father ended up in prison or dead."

The lawsuit alleges that between 2006 and 2014, the distributor shipped more than three million doses of opioids to a city with a population of 400.

“Nobody needs 60 opioids in their medicine cabinet," Martin said. “There are a lot of people that need these medicines and that is understandable, but we have to make sure we are putting the resources out there that are keeping them out of the (hands) that don’t need that.”

Martin said the spike in overdoses that was caused is irreparable.

“These lawsuits aren’t going to bring back the ones we have lost," he said. “We are going to learn and move forward. Our hope is that any money collected through these settlements or lawsuits will go to add more resources to our communities.”

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