The city of Las Vegas may join the legal fight against opioid manufacturers to recoup dollars spent on battling the addictive drugs.
The City Council voted 5-1 on Wednesday to start a competitive bidding process, seeking an outside law firm to represent the city in a potential lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors to recover money spent battling what’s widely considered a national epidemic.
Municipalities nationwide have filed similar lawsuits, arguing they’ve incurred significant costs prosecuting related crimes and on medical and rehabilitation services.
“I urge the city to consider holding them accountable for some of the costs, the vast costs, to our community,” said Dr. Mel Pohl, chief medical officer for the Las Vegas Recovery Center.
The council’s Wednesday vote doesn’t mean the city will move forward with legal action, which Clark County, North Las Vegas and Reno and the state have already initiated.
Attorney Robert Eglet, whose firm Eglet Prince has filed other opioid-related lawsuits, asked the council for more than the usual allotted time to speak on Wednesday.
“I’m not here in any way to try to solicit this case today,” Eglet said.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman declined to give Eglet extra time, citing fairness, and said he submitted a in-depth documents on the issue to the city. The council heard from a group of veterans who described their experiences with prescription opiates.
U.S. Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-NV, also advocated for the city to join the legal fight at Wednesday’s council meeting.