North Carolina county targets 24 drug companies with opioid lawsuit

An attorney representing Surry County filed a 165-page federal lawsuit Dec. 29, naming 24 drug manufacturers, distributors and their subsidiaries as defendants, according to a Winston-Salem Journal report. 

The suit — in keeping with dozens of others filed on behalf of local governments around the nation — alleges drugmakers and drug distributors spread misinformation regarding the safety of opioids. The suit also alleges companies marketed the drugs directly to vulnerable populations such as the elderly and veterans.

"Our 165-page complaint makes clear the dire need for abatement of this nuisance and details some of the damage suffered by our county," said Ed Woltz, Surry County attorney, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. "We are taking this action against the fundamental cause of the opioid crisis — the manufacturers' and distributors' failure to follow well understood laws surrounding the marketing and distribution of highly addictive narcotics."

From 2008 to 2016, Surry County experienced 100 opioid-related deaths.

More articles on opioids: 
Disabled Medicare beneficiaries in low income counties more likely to be prescribed opioids 
HCA warns patients they 'will feel pain' in effort to curb opioid use: 4 things to know 
UPMC Hamot devotes new center to treating pregnant women with opioid addiction

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