Brian Lee Telegram & Gazette Staff @BLeeTG
SOUTHBRIDGE – In the wake of 13 reported opioid overdose deaths in town in 2015 and 2016, councilors voted 7-0 this week to sue the pharmaceutical industry for the wrongful distribution of opiates and resultant damages.
In another drug matter, town councilors approved of the third and final reading of a bylaw banning all types of adult-use recreational marijuana businesses from locating here.
However, George Steeves, vice chairman of the Town Council and the lone dissenter in a 6-1 vote on Monday, suggested the town should be open to welcoming marijuana businesses, despite of the results of four local ballot questions in June that favored a prohibition.
Regarding illicit opioid use, Southbridge will file mass tort litigation through the Massachusetts Opioid Litigation Attorneys, a consortium of lawyers suing the pharmaceutical industry on behalf of individual municipalities.
Civil cases are being filed throughout the country, on the claim that the industry minimized the dangers of opioids and deluged the market. The cases are being consolidated in multidistrict litigation in Ohio, according to MOLA. A