Posted by Nate Peters on Mar 07, 2018
President Jeff Ott presents Attorney General Ferguson with a book to sign for Pleasant Glade Elementary
 
Nate Peters - 03.08.2018
 
Attorney General Bob Ferguson spoke at Gateway Rotary about the Washington State Office of the Attorney General, educate on the opioid epidemic in the state, and answer questions.
There are approximately 600 attorneys and 500 professional staff who work at the Office of the Attorney General, which is the largest law firm in the state. Ferguson said the job of the office is to defend and enforce Washington State law. He broke up the duties into two main buckets: to represent Washington State as an entity and to work directly for the public through affirmative litigation.
 
In these capacities, the Office of the Attorney General acts as the law firm of the state by providing consultation as well as court representation. In terms of the affirmative litigation, Ferguson said this is the capacity where they represent the public mostly through its consumer protection division, which is the largest division with approximately 80 employees. This division receives around 30,000 consumer complaints a year in Washington State.
 
Ferguson then transitioned to discuss the opioid epidemic and how his office is addressing the issue in Washington State (online article). “It’s truly devastating,” he said. Ferguson reported that 718 Washingtonians died from opioid overdose in 2015, which was more than deaths from car accidents. The L.A. Times wrote an article on the nationwide epidemic in 2016, and despite the many examples of the drugs affects across the country, they chose to write profiles of people impacted by the drugs from Everett, Washington (online article).
 
In response to the epidemic, Ferguson has taken on Purdue Pharma, the company that created OxyContin more than 20 years ago, in court. Other states across the country have also followed suit. The reason in the law suits are because some believe the pharmaceutical company was deceiving in the marketing to doctors and other prescribers about the drug’s addictiveness.
For more information about the Office of the Attorney General or on the opioid epidemic in Washington, please refer to the website www.atg.wa.gov.