This week the City filed a lawsuit against 19 opioid companies for alleged deceptive and illegal promotion of opioids. “The bad actors within the opioid industry must be held to account. For Somerville, that starts today,” said Mayor Joe Curtatone in a statement announcing the lawsuit.
Somerville, like communities across the country, had to rally to respond to the opioid epidemic and help those struggling with addiction and their families access services and supports.
“These lawsuits won’t bring back those we have lost or repair the damage done to countless lives. But they are a step in holding the companies that are responsible for and profited from the opioid epidemic accountable,” said Mayor Curtatone.
Here are a few numbers that give a picture of how the opioid epidemic has affected Somerville:
In 2013 there were 11 opioid-related deaths in the city; that number increased to 15 in 2014, 17 in 2015, and a high of 21 in 2016.
Somerville’s emergency responders now carry Narcan, a medication that in some cases reverses opioid overdoses. In 2016, 197 doses of Narcan were administered by emergency responders – four times the amount of doses administered in any one year previously. In 2018, 203 doses were administered.
Between 2010 and 2016 an average of 222 mg of oxycodone were dispersed per person in Middlesex County (where Somerville is located).