Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin confirmed the Office is working with a bipartisan coalition of a majority of attorneys general in an ongoing investigation to evaluate whether pharmaceutical manufacturers have engaged in unlawful practice sin the marketing and sale of opioids. Specifically, the investigation is looking at what role the opioid manufacturers may have played in creating or prolonging the opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose crisis in the country.
The coalition of attorneys general is using its investigative authority, including subpoenas for documents and testimony, to determine the appropriate course of action to address this opioid epidemic.
Nationwide and in Rhode Island, opioids – prescription and illicit – are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Last year, 336 Rhode Islanders died of drug overdoses with an overwhelming majority of those attributed to opioids. Through March of this year, 65 Rhode Islanders have died of drug overdoses.
"To truly address the opioid epidemic that is shattering the lives of families across our state, we must examine the marketing and sale of these highly addictive and deadly drugs by the manufacturers," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "While I certainly do not want to assume where this investigation may lead, I think it is fair to say that it wouldn't be the first time pharmaceutical companies used deceptive sales and marketing of certain drugs for tremendous financial benefit. We owe it to the victims and their families to examine every aspect of this epidemic – from manufacturing of legal opioids to illegal diversion – if we are going to every truly get at the heart of the crisis."
Due to the nature of the ongoing investigation, the coalition is not identifying any specific targets of the investigation at this time.