PHOENIX - At least three City of Phoenix officials want to take the fight against opioids directly to manufacturers and distributors.
Mayor Greg Stanton and two other councilmembers, Thelda Williams and Debra Stark, sent a letter to City Manager Ed Zuercher asking for an item to be placed on the next city council meeting agenda. The three want to engage "qualified law firms" to represent the city in a legal action against pharma companies that manufacturer and distributor opioids.
"This epidemic has created an incredible strain on the City of Phoenix," the three wrote in the letter. "Overdoses are so common that every Phoenix Fire Department engine and rescue vehicle carries doses of naloxone, an opioid antidote – and overdoses that require an ambulance trip are more frequent."
According to a release, nearly 800 Arizonans died from opioid overdoses last year, and from June 15 to Nov. 2 alone this year, there has already been over 500 opioid-related deaths of Arizonans.
Over the span of seven days in June, Arizona health officials reported 191 suspected opioid overdoses.
The letter and request is an effort, the three wrote, to "begin to turn the tide in this national crisis."
“These companies have put huge profits before telling the truth, and their behavior is directly responsible for stunning rises in opioid addiction that destroys lives, tears apart families and burdens taxpayers at every level,” said Stanton.
According to a release, the next step is a full city council vote on Nov. 15.
"We believe that resources recovered from this action can better equip first responders and neighborhoods with the tools they need to respond to the crisis, as well as help those who are suffering from addiction themselves," the three wrote.