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Tribe refiles suit against drug distributors in state court

SALLISAW, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation has refiled a lawsuit against opioid distributors in state court after a federal judge ruled that tribe’s court system had no jurisdiction over the companies.

Lawyers filed the suit Jan. 19 in Sequoyah County, which is part of the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction. It names Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and major U.S. drug distributors.

The Cherokees sued six companies last year, accusing them of failing to prevent illegally prescribed opioids from getting into the hands of its citizens. The distributors have denied any wrongdoing and say they’ve followed the law.

The Cherokees are among several tribes, state governments and prosecutors who have recently filed similar suits against the opioid industry. The Tahlequah-based Cherokees have about 350,000 citizens.