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Kroger Sued for Role in Kentucky Opioid Crisis, Accused of Flooding State with Millions of Pills


FRANKFORT, KY (Feb 14, 2024) – Kentucky Attorney General Russell Coleman filed a lawsuit against Kroger today, alleging the grocery chain played a major role in fueling the state’s devastating opioid crisis. The lawsuit claims Kroger pharmacies distributed over 11% of all opioid pills dispensed in Kentucky between 2006 and 2019, flooding communities with hundreds of millions of doses without proper safeguards.

The suit, filed in Bullitt Circuit Court, accuses Kroger of:

  • Purchasing over four billion morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) of opioids for Kentucky, equating to roughly 444 million doses.
  • Distributing nearly 194 million hydrocodone pills to its Kentucky pharmacies during the same period.
  • Failing to implement any effective monitoring system to identify and report suspicious opioid orders.

“Kroger knowingly made these dangerous and highly addictive substances all too accessible,” Coleman said, referring to the company’s trusted status among families. “For over a decade, they flooded Kentucky with pills that directly led to addiction, pain, and death.”

The lawsuit emphasizes Kroger’s access to real-time data on prescribing patterns and the ability to track suspicious orders. Despite these red flags, the suit alleges Kroger did not report a single suspicious prescription in Kentucky between 2007 and 2014.

Kentucky has been particularly hard hit by the opioid epidemic, with thousands losing their lives to overdoses and countless families suffering unimaginable grief. The state consistently ranks among the highest in overdose death rates, with over 2,100 deaths attributed to drug overdoses in a single year.

This lawsuit follows Attorney General Coleman’s other actions against corporations deemed responsible for fueling the opioid crisis. Earlier this month, he secured a nearly $7 million settlement with Publicis Health for the marketing agency’s role in promoting opioid medications.

Read the entire complaint here