On April 30, 2018, Lieff Cabraser partner Mark P. Chalos spoke to National Public Radio (NPR) about the lawsuit filed by the City of Nashville, TN against the pharmaceutical industry in the wake of the opioid drug epidemic plaguing the Nashville area as well as the rest of Tennessee and the wider United States.
“We all know the dangers of opioids, we have a fairly good understanding of the mechanisms of addiction and the risks for it,” stated Chalos. “Going back in time, the manufacturers and distributors have jointly promoted to the medical community that there isn’t really much risk for opioid addiction. That these are pills that should be taken for chronic, long-term pain and if you see a patient who exhibits what might be addictive behavior, what they are experiencing is not addiction but a continuation of the underlying pain that they are being treated for. They called it pseudo-addiction, they being the opioids industry.”
The lawsuit seeks accountability from manufacturers and distributors for economic harms caused by the opioid crisis local to Nashville, Tennessee. The litigation aims to recover substantial public funds spent combating the opiates crisis. This horrific and ongoing prescription drug epidemic killed more than 200 Nashville residents in 2017 alone.
“Our first responders are stretched thin, they all now are carrying opioid reversal agents,” explained Chalos. “It has cost the taxpayers of Nashville significant sums in the millions over time, and this epidemic knows no bounds, we’re seeing it everywhere from inner city neighborhoods to the affluent suburbs. It has been absolutely devastating.”
“What we are saying on behalf of our clients is that for years, this industry has overpromoted, overmarketed, and oversupplied our communities with opioids,” Chalos said. “And it’s that combination of misleading, oversupplying, dodging regulations that ultimately created the opioids catastrophe we’re living with today.”
Ongoing Harm from the Opioid Catastrophe in Tennessee
The opioid drug catastrophe has resulted in a flood of opioids available for illicit use or sale in and around Tennessee, and it has created a population of Tennessee patients physically and psychologically dependent on these drugs. When those patients can no longer afford or legitimately obtain opioids, they often turn to the street to buy illegally diverted prescription opioids or heroin or other illicit opioid drugs. The harm to these individuals, to their families, and to the communities around them is a continuing tragedy that is straining the lives and resources of cities and communities, including hospitals and health care, insurers, law enforcement and fire and medical emergency personnel, courts, government administration, child and infant care, prisons, and schools and educational facilities.
About Mark Chalos
The managing partner of Lieff Cabraser’s Nashville office, Mark Chalos represents individuals who have suffered catastrophic personal injuries and families whose loved ones died due to the negligence or misconduct of others. He has obtained millions of dollars in settlements for families who have been harmed by wrongful conduct.
Through jury trials, Mr. Chalos has held wrong-doers accountable, including representing 32 school children who were videotaped undressing in their school locker room ($1.28 million jury verdict) and a young woman who suffered a severe brain injury in a car wreck (nearly $4 million jury verdict). He also obtained an $8 million arbitration award on behalf of a business client.