Lewiston’s city councilors, in a brilliant vote of 4-3 just voted to join the lawsuit against opioid manufacturers. This is an amazing decision and I am thrilled to see Lewiston taking this crisis seriously. Nationally, we’ve lost more people to opioid related deaths in the recent history than in the height of the AIDS crisis, but we aren’t fighting for solutions a fraction of the degree. It’s heartening to see Lewiston get involved in a serious way.

Voting against this great action were councilors Tim Lajoie, Shane Bouchard and Mike Lachance. It’s very discouraging to see the three councilors scoff this off as a simple money grab as they have. 25%, the amount that the lawyers could win, is a standard benchmark reward for lawyers in this type of thing. I’m especially frustrated by Bouchard who is running for mayor of Lewiston but isn’t doing everything he can to stop dozens of people from unnecessarily dying in the city he wants to run.

The fact that this will cost the tax payers of Lewiston nothing should be praised by the three councilors who frequently represent themselves as fiscal conservatives and constantly criticize others for spending.
“The lawsuit is intended to “recover the city’s costs relating to the opioid crisis and to change the practices of those engaged in opioid marketing and distribution,” and that any financial damages awarded to Lewiston through the proceedings “should be used to support law enforcement, education, and treatment efforts aimed at combating this epidemic.”
This issue impacts people from across the political aisle, but actually doing something to fight it has turned into an almost partisan battle. That’s really frustrating to see. We all need to open our eyes to the damage that these drugs do and fight it together. Especially when it could lead to additional resources at no cost to the tax payer.

Others have commented that there’s no place for the government to dictate what the companies and the doctors can do as a reason to vote against this lawsuit. I couldn’t disagree any stronger.  Yes, there are examples of over regulation in our country and we should look at stripping some regulations away on a case by case basis. But there are dozens of situations where they are necessary, required and vital. Limited government regulations that protect our nation’s health and is one of the few major key objectives of the government. We’re losing thousands of lives as a nation because we’re so scared of the government saying that companies can’t blatantly lie about addictive elements of drugs? No. That mentality is weak and apathetic.  People are dying because of our obsession with money and greed.  Stand up and have a back bone.

Congratulations to Lewiston for making an effort towards saving lives, and let’s keep up the fight!


 

All opinions are my own and not representative of any other organization, company or person other than me. -James

James is resident of Auburn, a member of the Auburn Democrats, the Maine Young Dems, Maine People’s Alliance, and the Communication’s Coordinator of the Androscoggin County Young Dems

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