Fears Nachawati’s Jonathan Novak Outlines Opioid Epidemic Origins for Maryland Bar Journal Article
An article by Fears Nachawati’s Jonathan Novak published in the Maryland Bar Journal examines the origins of the opioid addiction epidemic and the critical role that the legal system is playing in helping overwhelmed state and regional governments address long-term societal damages caused by opioid addiction.
In “Bootstrapping the Opioid Epidemic: Civil litigators are assisting communities in recovering from the opioid crisis where the Federal Government cannot,” Novak describes how abuse and misuse of prescription opioids grew while pharmaceutical companies aggressively marketed the prescription drugs and federal authorities failed to devote resources to protecting the public.
A former DEA litigator, Novak is a member of Fears Nachawati’s opioid litigation team that represents regional and state governments in litigation against opioid makers and distributors.
“The real damage of the opioid epidemic is seen in its costs, both financial and human. Across the state, communities are diverting taxes and resources to pay for the nuisances created by this epidemic: increases in drug abuse and crime, necessitating the hiring of additional police, fire, and EMS services; immense quantities of county- and city-supplied Narcan, a drug used in emergency situations to reverse an opioid overdose; additional prosecutors and the implementation of drug courts; larger jails; larger morgues; loss of revenue from huge increases in unemployment and disability; increases in property crimes; expanding and funding drug treatment programs; and sheer overdose deaths.
“Across the country, civil litigators are bringing state and federal cases against these companies under a theory of public nuisance. Similar to the tobacco litigation of the late 1990s, the lawsuits seek to hold these actors accountable for their part in creating a public health crisis – and to have them provide the resources to abate the problem they’ve created. These lawsuits are being brought not on behalf of individuals, but on behalf of the states, counties, and cities bearing the actual burden of the costs of this epidemic.
“But the resources necessary to make this generational change will not come cheap, will not come easy, and will not come through the altruism of pharmaceutical corporations. By taking part in this litigation, communities are taking their fate into their own hands with the assistance of attorneys nationwide. The ultimate result of this litigation will hopefully be a forward-looking pool of resources aimed at letting communities determine how to regain control of their own futures and bring themselves back from the brink.”
Read the entire article here: https://issuu.com/marylandstatebarassociation/docs/spring_2019_maryland_bar_journal_ma?e=31697704/70671010