FALL RIVER — In response to the nation's opioid crisis, the City of Fall River announced Friday that it would join communities from across the country in pursuing legal action against companies that produce, supply and distribute opioids.

Mayor Jasiel Correia II announced he had signed an agreement with attorneys from Motley Rice, the law firm that is already representing multiple communities and states, in lawsuits against the opioid businesses. There are about 235 simliar lawsuits that have been already been filed around the country.

"This is probably the most solidified way that the city of Fall River can have a national voice on a crisis that is plaguing our residents, not only plaguing them, but literally killing people in our streets," he said.

Correia said the goal of pursuing legal action lawsuit is two-fold.

"First and foremost, to investigate and discover infor that would lead to a successful lawsuit against the big pharmaceutical companies," Correia said. "Secondly, it was to ensure that we can enter the national conversation on an epidemic that is affecting every single community, in the Commonwealth and in the nation."

Correia said he got the idea after his first visit to the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, DC back in 2016, when Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was discussing taking legal action against the drug companies. Chicago is one of those communities that is also working with Motley Rice.

Garrett Bradley, one of the attorneys working on the Fall River lawsuit, said one target has already been determined: Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma, one the major manufacturers of opioids.

"Once we analyze the data from the City, we'll know whether or not there are additional manufacturers, and whether or not claims against distributors are warranted," Bradley said.

More From WBSM-AM/AM 1420