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Nevada sues drug company over opioid crisis

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Michael Yenick was a star football player who dreamed of getting married and having kids.

Instead, he became addicted to oxycodone after a sports injury and later died of an overdose.

“Bub, as he was affectionately known, was a star athlete, a gifted artist and a sweet soul,” said Edward Yenick.

“Unless you have lost a child, you cannot imagine the nightmare from which a parent never truly awakes,” he continued.

Edward and Cyndi Yenick stood together Tuesday morning in Las Vegas as the state’s top lawyer announced he was suing Purdue Pharma.

RELATED | Ohio Attorney General files lawsuit against 5 drug makers over opioid addiction epidemic

Nevada is joining a growing number of states that claim big pharma companies are to blame for an epidemic of overdoses and deaths.

“This is why we're here. Prescription drugs are killing Nevadans,” said Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt.

Laxalt claims Purdue, which manufactures oxycontin and other opioids, deceived doctors and patients in pursuit of profits.

“Purdue made misrepresentations that targeted doctors, patients, our elderly, our veterans, people with arthritis, back pain and migraines,” explained Laxalt.

“Purdue's misrepresentations caused people to believe that opioids could make their lives easier without the risk of addictions,” he continued.

The company has responded to the lawsuits with a statement on its website: "The prescription and illicit opioid abuse crisis is a multifaceted public health challenge, and as a manufacturer of prescription opioids, we have a responsibility to join the fight."

It continues to read, “At Purdue, we are committed to lead our industry in helping address our nation's prescription and illicit opioid abuse crisis.”

“Today's lawsuit is another step in the path towards justice for victims of this epidemic,” said Laxalt.

Perhaps no one wants justice more than Michael Yenick’s family.

“Our hope today is our story about the loss of our son, Bub, will bring home just how much real pain the opioid epidemic has caused families just like us in Nevada,” said Edward Yenick.

Yenick’s death led to the arrest of his family doctor in Reno who was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

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