NEW YORK – The US’ biggest city, New York City (NYC), on Tuesday sued big drug companies that make or distribute prescription opioids, blaming them for their part in the city's ongoing deadly opioid epidemic.

The lawsuit aims to recover half a billion US dollars in current and future costs that the NYC will incur to combat this epidemic.

"More New Yorkers have died from opioid overdoses than car crashes and homicides combined in recent years. Big Pharma helped to fuel this epidemic by deceptively peddling these dangerous drugs and hooking millions of Americans in exchange for profit," said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement Tuesday.

According to the statement, more than 1,000 people in NYC died in drug overdose, which involved an opioid in 2016, the highest year on record. More New Yorkers died from opioid overdoses last year than from car accidents and homicides combined.

The charges that manufacturers' misrepresentations of the safety and efficacy of long-term opioid use and distributors' oversupply of opioids that enable diversion to the illegal market continue to fuel the crisis and significantly contributed to creating and maintaining a public nuisance in the city.

The lawsuit alleges that the opioid crisis caused by manufacturers' deceptive marketing, and distributors' flooding of prescription painkillers into NYC has placed a substantial burden on the city through increased substance use treatment services, ambulatory services, emergency department services, inpatient hospital services, medical examiner costs, criminal justice costs, and law enforcement costs.

NYC now joins hundreds of municipalities across New York State and the nation as it seeks to hold opioid manufacturers and distributors accountable for their illegal actions.

However, many defendants, including Allergan Plc, Endo International Plc, Johnson & Johnson, argued in separate statements the importance of using opioids safely. (Xinhua)