Pa. joins coalition of Attorneys General investigating opioid manufacturers for their role in epidemic

Josh Shapiro

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has joined a bipartisan coalition of Attorneys General from across the country charged with investigating whether manufacturers have engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing and sale of opioids.

According to a press release, the Attorneys General are investigating what role opioid manufacturers have played in creating or prolonging the opioid epidemic.

Using investigative tools, including subpoenas for documents and testimony, the Attorneys General hope to determine an appropriate course of action to address the epidemic.

Pennsylvania had 4,642 fatal drug overdoses in 2016 — a 37 percent increase over 2015, the release said.

“The people peddling the drugs ripping apart our towns aren’t only on our street corners,” Shapiro said in the release. “Three out of four heroin users started by abusing prescription opioids, and our ongoing investigation is going straight into the boardrooms of pharmaceutical companies. We will follow the evidence to hold every person and every company responsible for this tragedy accountable on behalf of Pennsylvanians.

“I’ve seen the pain caused by this crisis and heard from families that have been torn apart. To everyone touched by this epidemic, who has felt the wave of overdose deaths and dealt with the pain of addiction in your family and in your town, we’re fighting back for you.”

 

In his own press release, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf praised Shapiro for ensuring that Pennsylvania is doing its part to lead the fight against the opioid epidemic.

“Over the past few months, I have been proud to have my administration support and collaborate with Attorney General Shapiro on this important step in our fight against the opioid crisis,” Governor Wolf said in his statement. “It is undeniable that powerful and overprescribed prescription drugs have played a significant role in the deadly addiction crisis facing Pennsylvania and states across the country.

“While we have taken steps to expand treatment for those suffering and expand resources for law enforcement and health professionals, the death toll is still rising in our state.

“I thank Attorney General Shapiro for taking a lead role in today’s action and for being a vital partner in our fight against heroin and overuse of prescription opioids.”