Cheyenne files suit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

CHEYENNE (WNE) -– The city of Cheyenne has added its name to the growing list of government bodies taking legal action against major opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Jackson-based attorney Jason Ochs filed the 199-page complaint on Cheyenne’s behalf March 8 in federal court. That suit now sits side by side similar complaints from the city of Casper, which filed in February; Carbon County, which filed last spring; and the Northern Arapaho Tribe, which filed in early 2018.

Ochs is representing Casper and Carbon County, as well, and Cheyenne’s complaint is nearly identical to those two suits.

The complaint names a handful of opioid manufacturers and distributors, including the pharmaceutical company that created Oxycontin, Purdue Pharma. The state of Wyoming also has pending litigation against Purdue Pharma, but in Laramie County Circuit Court.

Cheyenne’s complaint alleges the named defendants, which also include big-name prescription distributors like Walmart and Walgreens, created a “false and deceptive” marketing scheme “designed to dramatically increase the demand for and sale of opioids and opioid prescriptions.”

The complaint also alleges the named defendants created a supply-chain scheme that failed to flag suspicious orders and failed to stop suspicious orders when they were identified.

The heavily sourced complaint references data from academics, government sources and a litany of studies to underscore the depth of opioid addiction and overdose, a problem that was declared a national emergency by then-President Barack Obama in 2017.