Lac Courte Oreilles Band Files Lawsuit Against Opioid Drug Manufacturers, Distributors

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 | Media Release |


Hayward, Wisconsin -  The Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians has filed suit against prescription drug manufacturers and distributors for their role in the opioid epidemic that is a national crisis and continues to devastate tribes. 

For the members of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe, prescription opioids are deadlier and more devastating than any prescription drug or non-prescription drug, including heroin. Lac Courte Oreilles, like many Indian Tribes, is experiencing the ravages of the opioid epidemic, including deaths of its members from overdoses, as well as an alarming increase in their youth being impacted by opioid abuse, including infants born addicted to opioids and children removed from addicted parents. In the lawsuit, the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe alleges that it has suffered economic loss arising from the costs of providing medical care, counseling and rehabilitative services, welfare and foster care services, addiction treatment and the law enforcement and public safety needs, as a result of the opioid epidemic. 

"We would like to see more Indian Tribes ally themselves with what we are trying to do to stop the scourge of opioid prescription pills and to join us in taking on Big Pharma and their drug distribution network. All tribal governments have been harmed and deserve to be compensated for their losses," said Tribal Chairman Louis Taylor. "As one of my colleagues has said, this is a "wildfire" that is out of control and causing devastation to our beloved Indian Country."

In addition to holding major drug manufacturers and distributors accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic, the Tribe hopes to be able to provide more resources for education, treatment, preventative services, and the Tribe's public safety needs. "We cannot stand on the sideline and watch counties, cities, states, and other tribal governments file lawsuits. We believe that we needed to protect our own rights by filing suit. This terrible nuisance of opioids must be abated."

The Lac Courte Oreilles Legal Department is working alongside the law firms of Hogen Adams in St. Paul, MN; Frazer, PLC in Nashville, TN; The Kuykendall Group in Mobile, AL; and Beggs & Lane, RLLP in Pensacola, FL to represent the Tribe in this lawsuit. These and other law firms across the Country have combined forces as the Alliance for Tribal Justice.



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