Attorney General Janet Mills demands documents from opioid manufacturers and distributors

September 19, 2017


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Andrew Roth-Wells DATE: September 19, 2017 TELEPHONE: (207) 626-8887

Attorney General Janet Mills demands documents from opioid manufacturers and distributors

Mills and bipartisan Attorneys General across the United States serve investigative subpoenas for information about marketing and sales of opioids

AUGUSTA ? Attorney General Janet Mills confirmed today that a bipartisan coalition of Attorneys General is demanding the production of additional documents and information from manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids as part of multistate investigations into the nationwide opioid epidemic. These requests for information are part of the ongoing investigation by a large bipartisan group of the states? chief law enforcement officers to determine whether manufacturers and distributors engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale, and distribution of opioids. Forty-one Attorneys General are participating in the investigation.

Nationwide and in Maine, opioids?prescription and illicit?are the main-driver of substance abuse disorders and drug overdose deaths. Drug overdose deaths in Maine increased by 40 percent between 2015 and 2016. Last year saw 376 drug overdose deaths in Maine, and there have been 185 confirmed drug overdose deaths in the first six months of 2017, or one overdose death a day. Opioid overdoses nationally have quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In an effort to stem the tide of drug overdose deaths, Attorney General Mills has distributed Naloxone (Narcan) to 60 law enforcement agencies across the state over the last 15 months, with 255 successful applications. The Office of the Attorney General is now distributing Narcan to county jails as well since legislation went into effect in June of 2017 allowing this distribution. More than 2,400 doses of Narcan have been distributed.

?If 376 baby seals washed up dead on the shores of Cape Elizabeth,? Mills stated, ?we would be marching in the streets, demanding to know how to stop the devastation. Instead, these are our citizens, members of our community, and we must use every tool in the toolbox to stem this epidemic of human addiction and death,? said Attorney General Mills. ?Pharmaceutical opioids should never have been marketed without a clear warning of the substantial danger of addiction. Instead, it appears that manufacturers assured prescribers that these pills were not habit-forming. The result has been devastating to Maine families and communities.?

The Attorneys General served investigative subpoenas for documents and information, also known as Civil Investigative Demands, on a variety of manufacturers and distributors and related entities to try to get to the bottom of these marketing and distributing practices.

The Attorneys General are using these investigative tools to determine what role the opioid manufacturers and distributors played in creating or prolonging this epidemic and to determine the appropriate course of action to help resolve the current crisis.

Attorney General Mills is also sponsoring a public education campaign entitled ?Dose of Reality? to remind all Mainers that painkillers can be deadly, that sharing prescriptions is dangerous and that pills should be properly stored and disposed of as soon as they are no longer necessary. For more information on the Dose of Reality Campaign, see: