UpNorthLive reports that nine Michigan municipalities have joined together and filed federal lawsuits against dozens of pharmaceutical companies who they say had a part in the crisis:

“Over 64,000 people died of opioid overdoses last year in America,” Said Dr. Joneign Khaldun, director and health officer for the City of Detroit. “In Michigan, the number’s over 1,600 people last year alone. More people are dying from opioid overdoses then they are from guns and from car crashes, it’s incredible.”

Grand Traverse and Chippewa Counties, along with 7 other Michigan municipalities, just filed lawsuits against several pharmaceutical companies. They join nearly 100 other communities across the country.

..“There are counties in northern Michigan that are harder hit,” said attorney Tim Smith with Smith & Johnson in Traverse City. “Looking at it from a per capita standpoint as far as the number of deaths, as far as the prescription rates.”

The hope of the lawsuit is to recover the costs spent fighting this epidemic, but also force the companies to change their policies to prevent this moving forward.

“We’re sending a very clear message that Michigan is now engaged in this litigation,” said Smith. “Michigan now recognizes at the county level and the city level that the damage these companies have caused is enough. It’s time to hold them accountable and recover those tax payer monies.”

Read on for more from UpNorthLive.