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The state of Florida is facing Walgreens in court, alledging the company helped fuel the opioid epidemic. Here's what the case means for Duval county.

Attorney General Moody will face Walgreens company in court this week. This could mean justice for Florida - and Duval County.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The video attached to this story is from a previous, related story.

Watch the Florida vs. Walgreens opening statements above.

Beginning Monday, the state of Florida, led by Attorney General Ashley Moody, will lead its first litigation against opioid distributors. The state seeks retribution for victims of opioid addiction and their relatives. 

That would mean retribution for Duval County, too. 

As opioid litigation has been taking place all over the country, including a case in Washington State which won $6 billion from Purdue Pharma and its founders, the Sackler family, this will be the first trial against opioid distributors on Florida soil.

The trial, where the state of Florida will face pharmacy corporation Walgreens Company, is taking place in Pasco County. 

But deaths and addiction to opioids are spread all over the state. 

Jacksonville is highlighted in the Attorney General's case, and data provided by Jacksonville Fire and Rescue shows that opioid overdose is more than common in Duval County. 

The county, including surrounding areas the Beaches and Baldwin, has been slated to receive $47.5 million in payments from previous settlements. Jacksonville could receive up to $13.4 million, the Florida Times Union reported in January.

Depending on the outcome of this case, the county could receive even more money.

A complaint by the State of Florida names 12 companies as defendants; seven manufacturers and five distributors. 

So far, the state of Florida has received more than $3 billion in settlements from defendants named in the case. But one defendant, Walgreens, won't settle -- they're taking the case to trial. 

Evidence presented in the case reads: "Jacksonville's Chief Medical Examiner stated in 2016 that she is unable to take a day off because the morgue is so busy with overdose victims. That year, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department responded to 2,411 opioid overdoses."

And documents obtained by First Coast News show that in 2021, JFR was dispatched to overdose emergencies 4993 times. More than half were listed as a "suspected opioid-related overdose." 

The number of suspected opioid-related overdoses was about the same in 2020. And in May 2020 alone, there were a staggering 363 calls for opioid cases.

Credit: JFR
This chart shows the number of overdose responses Jacksonville Fire Rescue responded to by year.

The complaint refers to Walgreens as one of the "top distributors of opioids in Florida." 

Walgreens operates 820 stores across Florida.

The filing says that Walgreens and CVS (which has settled with the state), "violated... duties of care by dispensing extremely large amounts of opioids from their retail pharmacy stores in Florida." 

Specifically, the filing says "Walgreens sold and shipped unreasonable quantities of opioids into Florida, including many red-flag pharmacies in Florida, and continued to do so despite extensive and blatant evidence of diversion at many facilities in Florida.

It also references a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation which found that "Walgreen's Florida pharmacies each allegedly ordered more than one million dosage units of oxycodone in 2011 -- more than ten times the average amount." 

RELATED: Opening statements in Florida's lawsuit against Walgreens for its role in opioid crisis begin Monday

RELATED: Richard Sackler, ex-head of Purdue Pharma, denies responsibility for opioid crisis

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