LORAIN, OH (WOIO) - The mayor of Lorain introduced an emergency ordinance to file a lawsuit against opioid makers and distributors at Monday night's council meeting.
It passed unanimously.
This comes at the same time Dayton announced a similar lawsuit. The lawsuits will be separate, but the cities are using the same attorneys.
Mayor Chase Ritenauer tells Cleveland 19 they could not wait for state or federal action, and decided to take action at the city level. The lawsuit will seek damages to recover costs from the opioid epidemic passed on to police officers and first responders, as well as the cost of Narcan.
Ritenauer says drug companies and distributors need to be held accountable for their role in starting so many opioid addictions.
"I think many of these drugs were passed on to the market under false pretenses, and what has happened is we've seen proliferation of these opiates. There's a connection, the more opiates on the market -- the heroin epidemic -- the number of deaths every year is increasing in some cases tenfold," said Ritenauer.
He said they're not waiting for the federal or state government to take action, because they see the problem growing every day.
"We can't go to church or a rest station without meeting a family or someone we know who hasn't been afflicted by this. And it's personal to us," he said.
Ritenauer thinks other cities will eventually join in with Lorain and Dayton, making it a class-action lawsuit.
"To me, it's holding those accountable who are pushing forth a narrative that's simply incoherent and it's a narrative that's taking people's lives," Ritenauer said.
It's been just over a year since Nancy Krasienko of Lorain lost her 30-year-old daughter Megan to an opioid overdose. Megan was hooked on painkillers, and ever since she died, Nancy has been pushing the city to take action.
"I did a candlelight vigil for my own daughter on these steps," she said, pointing at city hall.
Nancy says the city's move is a step forward, but she wants to see the doctors who over-prescribed painkillers held accountable.
Dayton's lawsuit includes physicians, but Lorain's proposed lawsuit does not.
This past week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a lawsuit against five pharmaceutical companies in response to the opioid crisis.