The city of Jacksonville has taken another step toward suing pharmaceutical companies for their alleged role in the city’s opioid addiction crisis.
Jacksonville City Councilman Bill Gulliford announced in an email Wednesday that the city has selected the law firm Scott+Scott to represent it in litigation against pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors.
Through the impending lawsuit, the city hopes to recoup the cost that opioid addiction has caused local government.
In October, the City Council directed the city’s Office of General Counsel to investigate claims against pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors as they relate to damages incurred by the opioid epidemic.
The Duval Health Department said the city is among the worst in Florida for babies born addicted to opiate drugs.
In 2015, the Jacksonville Medical Examiner's Office handled 201 overdose deaths, according to Gulliford's office. In 2016 that number jumped to 464. Final numbers for 2017 aren't available yet but Gulliford's office said they were on track to double again.
The situation has gotten so bad that the medical examiner said last fall that there wasn’t enough space to store the bodies.
Last week the City Council okayed $206,000 in emergency funding to get the Medical Examiner’s Office more space.
Scott+Scott is an international class action law firm headquartered in Connecticut with additional offices in New York, Ohio, California and London.