The Chickasaw and Choctaw nations have filed lawsuits separately against leading opioid manufacturers, the tribal leaders and the state attorney general announced Friday.
Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby and Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton said their tribes have suffered overwhelming deaths as a result of the national opioid crisis.
The tribes have filed similar suits in state court claiming the companies marketed these drugs deceptively for decades which has led to a ongoing public health crisis.
“Opioid manufacturers are the root cause of the ongoing epidemic,” Attorney General Mike Hunter said. “These companies knew the addictive qualities of opioids and still preyed on the suffering of Americans for decades. “The state is ready to work closely with our tribal partners to ensure success in both the tribes' and state’s lawsuits. They chose the most qualified law firm to handle the cases with the two very best attorneys in Judge Michael Burrage and Reggie Whitten. These two men have suffered personally from the epidemic and they will pour their hearts and souls into this case.”
According to the CDC, overdose deaths among Native Americans and native Alaskans rose by more than 500 percent from 1999 to 2015.
“Families are being torn apart and our children are being born addicted as a result. We will hold these companies accountable for the devastation they have caused our tribes," said Anoatubby.
Batton said his tribe saw similar devastation and they needed to take action.
“With these lawsuits, we look to recoup the damages the companies inflicted upon our tribes and end this scourge of death and addiction," Batton said.
Click here to read the Chickasaw Nation’s lawsuit: https://bit.ly/2Me3D2h.
Click here to read the Choctaw Nation’s lawsuit: https://bit.ly/2AFzNlS.