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Phoenix To Consider Suing Pharmaceutical Industry Over Opioid Epidemic

As the death toll from the opioid epidemic continues to rise, Phoenix could sue those it believes responsible — the pharmaceutical industry. The City Council will consider the move later this month.

With thousands of overdoses and hundreds of deaths, the opioid epidemic continues to take its toll on Arizona.

That’s led City Council Members Debra Stark, Thelda Williams and Mayor Greg Stanton to call for possible legal action against the manufacturers and distributors of opioids for fraudulent marketing that minimized the dangers of opioids.

Stanton says it’s straining city resources and the pharmaceutical companies need to be held responsible.

“It’s cost the city of Phoenix, tremendous amount of resources, jail costs which are very, very expensive etc., and I think Phoenix really needs to step up and do the right thing to support these families that have been devastated by opioid addiction," he said.

Along with being reimbursed for unnecessary costs, the city would also seek money to cover the cost of treating people who are addicted. Phoenix would be among a handful of cities that have taken similar actions including Seattle and Indianapolis.

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.