A small business owner in Massachusetts has filed a lawsuit against the state of Massachusetts, claiming that the state failed to protect her business from an influx of opioid drugs.
Lawyers for Gina DeJesus filed a motion Tuesday in Boston Superior Court claiming that under state law, DeJesus was in violation of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Act, and that the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, which is part of the Department, failed to adequately monitor the growing problem.
The motion was filed on behalf of DeJesus, who owns Damelin, a medical marijuana dispensary in Boston that received $30,000 from a marijuana company in February.
The lawsuit alleges that DeJesus’ business was hit hard by an influx in prescription drugs that have flooded the market.
The law was passed after President Donald Trump’s election in 2016.
It has been called a major victory for the opioid epidemic.
DeJesus’ lawyer, Charles DeAngelis, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
DeAngelas previously argued that the law is necessary to protect the safety of businesses.
DeJesus, a nurse practitioner, said in a statement that she believes her business was not adequately monitored because it was in an unincorporated area where there were no state or federal law enforcement officers.
“It is important to note that I have no knowledge of the DEA or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Prevention having any information about the situation at the dispensary,” she said.
Dealing with opioid addiction is a growing concern for the state.
More than a third of the state’s population is believed to be using opioids.
A survey from the Commonwealth Fund found that 43 percent of Massachusetts residents who use opioids are struggling with addiction.
The number of people who say they are struggling has increased over the past two years, as the state has faced a steep rise in the number of overdose deaths.
The survey found that 47 percent of those who use opioid painkillers report experiencing an addiction to the drugs.
A recent analysis by the Massachusetts Center on Substance Abuse found that there were more than 500,000 people in Massachusetts who were living with opioid abuse in 2017, up from about 300,000 in 2016, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More than 3.3 million people have used prescription opioids in the U.S. since the epidemic started in 2016 and the CDC estimates that nearly 9,000 died from opioids last year.