Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is teaming up with a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general across the country to investigate whether manufacturers of powerful prescription painkillers known as opioids have engaged in unlawful practices to push sales of the drugs.
“Alabama has disproportionately suffered from prescription painkiller abuse and I have joined with a majority of my fellow Attorneys General to investigate what role opioid manufacturers have had in creating or prolonging the opioid abuse epidemic,” Attorney General Marshall said.
Opioids are by far the most misused and abused prescription drugs in the country, fueling a national epidemic. Opioids killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, and overdoses have quadrupled since 1999. Alabama is among the top five states to report increases in opioid overdose deaths from 2014 to 2015. Abuse of these powerful painkillers remains one of the greatest challenges facing Alabama law enforcement, Attorney General Marshall said.
Opioids include the illegal drug heroin as well as the prescription painkillers fentanyl, OxyContin, and Vicodin. The drugs alleviate pain but also provide a feeling of euphoria, making them a target for misuse and abuse.
The Attorneys General participating in the coalition are currently issuing subpoenas for documents and testimony to determine the appropriate course of action in addressing opioid abuse. The participants are not currently identifying the targets of their investigation and no additional information is available at this time.
The announcement comes weeks after Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a lawsuit against five pharmaceutical companies alleging they misled doctors about the risks associated with opioid use.
Alabama Attorney General Office