Fourth Judicial District joins lawsuit blaming opioid producers for state's epidemic

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JACKSBORO, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Another East Tennessee district attorney general has joined a lawsuit against producers of prescription opioids, saying they're responsible for the state's opioid epidemic.

The amended lawsuit was filed in the Campbell County Circuit Court.

The addition of Jimmy Dunn, the district attorney general representing the Fourth Judicial District, brings the number of participants to six and counties represented to 19. The Fourth Judicial District includes Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier counties.

The suit claims the defendants produced opioids and marketed them to the 19 counties listed. The district attorney generals said that marketing helped convince doctors the opioids were not likely to cause addiction, and therefore led to the current opioid epidemic the state is experiencing.

Additionally, the lawsuit stated the defendants knew about their drugs being sold in an illegal opioid market along the Interstate 75 corridor, but chose profits over people and did nothing to stop it.

The lawsuit first filed in October 2017 targets Purdue Pharma L.P. and related companies Mallinckrodt LLC; Endo Health Solutions Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. Other defendants include the now-defunct Tennessee Pain Institute and two of its former employees, as well as a convicted drug dealer. The two plaintiffs are known collectively as "Baby Doe" and represented by their guardians.