By Desiree Williams
The Town of Zionsville has joined 23 area communities in a public nuisance lawsuit against wholesale drug distributors. Mayor Tim Haak made the announcement March 26, saying it is an effort to hold accountable the companies that are allowing the opioid epidemic to continue.
“We are seeing more and more cases of overdoses,” Haak said. “Our police and fire are administering Narcan on a regular basis now. We’re seeing young people die because of it. It’s one of the leading causes of death now for people under 50.”
According to the Indiana State Dept. of Health, drug overdoses led to 1,518 deaths in 2016, 785 of which were caused by opioids.
The town is working with a variety of law firms to sue the nation’s three largest drug distributors: AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corp. Haak stated in a news release that these companies failed to monitor, report and halt suspicious activity, which they are obligated to do under the Controlled Substances Act.
“We need to see some changes, that’s first and foremost,” Haak stated. “The supply of drugs needs to either diminish or become more difficult for people to get their hands on. It’s becoming a burden for our public safety (officers), and it’s also a danger.”
Haak said the town continues to pursue other avenues besides legal action, like discussing the dangers of drugs with youth and offering a prescription drug drop-off location at the police station.
Other communities involved in the lawsuit include Noblesville, Westfield, Greenwood, Muncie, Fort Wayne and more.