Tribe Sues Drug Firms Over Opioid Crisis

SWINOMISH INDIAN TRIBAL COMMUNITY, Wash. — The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community has joined the ranks of governmental organizations filing lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies over the opioid crisis.

The Skagit Valley Herald reports the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle names Purdue Pharma, Endo Pharmaceuticals and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson.

The suit claims the opioid epidemic has had a dramatic impact not only in Skagit County – which has a higher overdose death rate than that of the state – but specifically on the tribe itself.

The lawsuit says that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of Native Americans and Alaska Natives dying of opioid overdoses increased four-fold between 1999 and 2013.

The drug companies have disputed the allegations.

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