Mayor Bieter discusses the war against opioid abuse

We sit down with Boise's mayor about opioid abuse.
Posted at 10:03 AM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-12 11:51:11-05

The opioId epidemic has reached such a level of danger that several cities across the country are suing pharmaceutical companies for the part they've played. One such city is Boise, and 6 On Your Side sat down with the city's mayor to discuss why he thinks this is the best option.

In 2013, the city of Boise saw one death stemming from an opioid overdose. Just last year, that number jumped to 110. Seeing such a staggering jump, Idaho's capital city has taken action by suing 20 pharmaceutical companies for their role.

"These companies have acted irresponsibly. They knew of the dangers and continued to really push these prescription pills out, these opioids out. Doctors overdid it, the pharmaceutical company knew of the dangers and there's a lot of similarities to the tobacco companies is what we found...that despite knowing these things and the addictive nature of these drugs, they continue to overprescribe and to ignore those dangers," said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter.

"What exactly was it that made you and your colleagues decide that we, this is a lawsuit that needs to happen here in Boise to make a change?" asked reporter Matt Sizemore.

"Well, we'd been looking at the situation over the course of this last year and had been contacted by various entities to join, and also those numbers. I mean, what we see locally is just, we can't allow that to continue and I think our getting into the lawsuit and our filing is also an important piece," said Bieter.

 It's a fight the mayor thinks will be tough, but fortunately, Boise is not alone.

"I don't want to downplay how difficult it's going to be but there are dozens and dozens of cities involved, we believe there may be many more," said Bieter.

And he believes that evidence, as well as common sense, will prevail.

"You know, these are sophisticated companies. It's a little hard to claim they didn't know things when they're as knowledgeable and data-driven as any companies on the globe. This is an epidemic that we can cure. We can certainly make headway and we think even more than that," said Bieter.