WILMINGTON, MA — The Town of Wilmington has joined more than 100 Massachusetts communities in filing litigation against the manufacturers and distributors of pharmaceutical drugs for their role in the opioid epidemic.
The lawsuit has been filled by the Massachusetts Opioid Litigation Attorneys, a consortium of nine law firms — including KP Law, Wilmington’s Town Counsel.
“Our litigation is aimed at recovering, on behalf of taxpayers, monetary damages from the gigantic pharma manufacturers and distributors who have all but criminally flooded our communities with opioids,” according to a statement from the consortium. “Instead of instituting controls to stop opioid abuse and alerting authorities to suspicious orders, distributors instead have chosen to abuse their privileged position, lining their pockets by shipping massive quantities of drugs to pharmacies and dispensaries without performing any checks. The communities impacted by effects of this corporate greed are left to pay the freight for this malfeasance through increased healthcare and law enforcement costs – and through the lives of their citizens.”
While Selectmen unanimously voted to join the lawsuit in Executive Session back in July, the board is just now discussing the matter after the town’s involvement has become public through legal filings. Selectman Jonathan Eaton spoke passionately about the topic at the board’s most recent meeting.
“At the board’s first meeting in July, we met with our attorney, Attorney Jonathan Silverstein, of KP Law, and Attorney Richard Sandman, of Rodman, Rodman & Sandman, PC, who are part of a multi-district litigation regarding opioids,” explained Selectman Jonathan Eaton at the February 11 Board of Selectmen’s Meeting. “At the time, there was 110 different communities in the commonwealth that were going after and litigating against the distributors of opioids and seeking as damages the costs these communities incur as a result of the opioid epidemic.”
“The [attorneys] are not going to be able to get all the damage that has happened in this town due to the opioid epidemic because the damage is not just monetary… A lawsuit doesn’t cure people or bring people back to life,” acknowledged Eaton. “But they’re going to try to collect the monetary damages to the community, such as costs for increased services from police, fire and EMTs, and the increased amount of work our senior center and veterans department have to deal with because of the epidemic.”
“The [detox facility] proposal for 362 Middlesex Ave has brought out emotion from most everyone in town, because it strikes close to home, regardless of the side of the fence that you’re on,” observed Eaton. “But if there’s a common ground, I think it’s that everyone is scared and pissed at what has happened. Many people wouldn’t have foreseen this 20 years ago. I was in high school then. And if you told me that every month or two, I’d have to text my brother to tell him that another kid we grew up was dead because of heroin, or opiates, or fentanyl, I wouldn’t have believed you. I would have thought it was a lie.”
“I’m pissed. I’m pissed that this is happening. I’m pissed that [the detox facility proposal] has divided our community to a great extent, but I’m glad we hired a law firm that could help get us a meeting so we could do something about it,” continued Eaton. “This doesn’t solve everything. But I think we’re doing what we can do – via the legal standing that the town does have – to go after the people who were pushing pills when it wasn’t appropriate… We are doing what we can to go after the people who are really hurting families and individuals in this community.”
Listen to Selectman Eaton’s powerful words at the 1-hour, 26-minute, 30-second mark in the video, courtesy of Wilmington Community Television:
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