[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Amherst 5-16-2018 by L.L. No. 11-2018. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Public nuisance abatement — See Ch. 152.
This Chapter shall be called entitled "Municipal Opioid Cost Recovery and Public Nuisance."
Addiction to and abuse of opioids is a significant challenge facing the Town. A cause of this increasing crisis is the overabundance of prescription opioids. The selling, distributing and prescribing of large amounts of opioids within the Town has created a public health and safety hazard affecting the residents of the Town. As a result of the opioid epidemic, costs related to healthcare, community services, criminal justice, addiction and rehabilitation and many other areas have significantly increased. Many of these costs are paid by the Town.
For the purpose of this Chapter, the following words, terms and phrases, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- All expenditures related to the opioid epidemic that directly or indirectly arise from the Town's response to a responsible party's action or inaction.
- RESPONSIBLE PARTY
- Any person or entity whose negligent, intentional, or otherwise wrongful conduct causes the incident resulting in the Town incurring costs or who is found liable or made responsible by a court for the costs incurred by the Town in the form of damages, regardless of the cause of action.
The Town may recover the costs of governmental functions related to opioids marketed, sold, manufactured, dispensed, prescribed and/or distributed by the responsible party. If a responsible party fails to pay the costs demanded, the Town may initiate and recover costs through administrative, civil and/or criminal action against the responsible party. In that case, the Town may also recover attorney's fees, interest and any other payment or type of damages the court deems proper.
The initiation of administrative or civil proceedings for governmental function cost recovery does not bar the criminal prosecution of a responsible party for any associated violation. Similarly, criminal prosecution does not bar civil collection of costs for the violation giving rise to the criminal prosecution.
The Town hereby finds and declares the following:
That addiction to and abuse of opioids is a significant challenge facing the Town;
A cause of this increasing crisis is the overabundance of prescription opioids. Vast amounts of prescription opioid pain pills have been and continue to be sold, distributed and prescribed in the Town
There is evidence showing that heroin users began their addiction by first using and then misusing prescription pain medications containing opioids;
The selling, distributing, and prescribing of large amounts of opioid pain pills in the Town has created a public health and safety hazard affecting the residents of the Town, resulting in devastation to Town families, a negative effect on the Town economy, wasted public resources and narcotic dependence by some of its residents;
That selling, distributing and prescribing of prescription opioid pain pills is a hazard to public health and safety, which has created a public nuisance to the citizens of the Town and that nuisance remains unabated;
That, in addition to all other powers and duties now conferred by law upon the Town, the Town is authorized to enact ordinances, issue orders and take other appropriate and necessary actions for the elimination of hazards to public health and safety and to abate or cause to be abated anything which the commission determines to be a public nuisance;
That manufacturers of prescription opioids and those in the chain of distribution have wrongfully abused the privilege of selling and/or providing medication to the Town's residents and must be held accountable; and
That it is the duty of the Town to take action to abate this public nuisance.
This legislation applies retroactively.