LACEY – Lacey Township is joining the fight against pharmaceutical companies in the wake of the heroin and opioid epidemic in New Jersey, according to officials at a recent township meeting.
Lacey is the third town, following Toms River and Brick, to join a state lawsuit against drug manufacturers for misrepresenting and inaccurately marketing prescription products, said Lacey Mayor Peter Curatolo. Teaming up with other New Jersey towns and the law firm, Motley Rice LLC of Washington D.C., Lacey is taking larger action to tackle the issue.
Prescription drugs have been making a name for themselves as the new gateway drug that gets users easily addicted. They are more expensive and harder to get a hold of, and this is what then causes users to turn to cheaper and more accessible drugs, such as heroin, officials have said.
Lacey has experienced a great loss when it comes to the opioid crisis, said Curatolo. The town has suffered from countless breaking and entering incidents that Curatolo believes to be fueled by those that are “prisoners to their addiction.”
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” said Curatolo. “If any entity acted inappropriately when marketing the [prescription] product, it should be held accountable.”
Despite the many efforts that Lacey Township has made to combat the rising drug problem, such as implementing school resource officers and substance awareness counselors in schools, the problems with addiction continues, said Curatolo. While these noble efforts can be effective, the township is incurring extra expenses and they need a bigger solution.
Motley Rice LLC is taking on the lawsuit for no compensation. Curatolo emphasized this because it means that there will be no cost to the taxpayers as a result of this lawsuit. Together, the New Jersey towns involved hope that they can win out against the big pharmaceutical companies to help their towns out of the hole that heroin and opioid addiction have dug for them.
“We are doing absolutely everything humanly possible,” to work on solving the drug problem, said Curatolo.