The Navajo Nation is suing various companies involved in the production and sale of opioid drugs.
According to a release, the tribe filed the suit in U.S. District Court in New Mexico on Wednesday. It is directed at a group of over ten opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies. It alleges they created a market for highly addictive drugs and failed to prevent their illicit use.
The tribe states its citizens have died from opioid overdoses, that its children have been placed in non-native custody after drug-related incidents, and that it has suffered enormous financial losses.
President Russell Begaye says Native Americans have disproportionately suffered during health crises for generations, and the opioid crisis is no different. Navajo Attorney General Ethel Branch adds the “Navajo Nation will not stand by and watch its people, its culture, and its heritage be destroyed” as a result of the epidemic.
The suit is the latest of a growing list of tribes across the country that have filed similar complaints accusing drug companies of opioid-related damages.