COSTA MESA (CBSLA) — Costa Mesa is taking on big pharma in a new lawsuit.
At least a dozen companies selling opioids like Oxycontin and Fentanyl have been sued by the City of Costa Mesa, which accuses manufacturers and distributors of flooding the market with opioids while cities like theirs foot the bill.
“Our lawsuit is to get reimbursed for all of the expense we are incurring as a result of big pharma pushing opioids out into our community. As a result, we have more people addicted to opioids. And we have more people operating sober living homes in Costa Mesa,” said Mayor Katrina Foley. “It costs us a tremendous amount of money in staff time, in police services, in homeless services,” she continued, claiming the operators of the sober living homes are evicting people on to Costa Mesa’s streets.
Ann Parker, a resident on the east side of town, said what she sees in her community is unprecedented.
“We’ve had people detoxing in front of our houses,” she said. “In vehicles, with needles. We never had this problem.”
Opioid-related E.R. visits and deaths in Costa Mesa are steadily rising. One of the city’s own fire captains, Mike Kreza, was killed nearly six months ago by a man allegedly driving under the influence of opioids.
Former addict Christopher Caputo is finally sober. He’s in treatment in Costa Mesa after becoming hooked on opioids following an accident.
“It needs to be done I think,” he said. “There’s a lot more pills — not even on the black market. You can go to the doctors and they’re handing them out like Tic Tacs.”
Purdue Pharma, one of the companies named in the lawsuit, denies the allegations. The company says there is little to support the city’s claim.