Ohio county files opioid lawsuit against drugmakers, distributors

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Officials with Cuyahoga County filed a lawsuit against multiple drugmakers, drug distributors and physicians for their alleged role in facilitating high rates of opioid overdoses in one of Ohio's most-populated counties.

From 2011 to 2016, Cuyahoga County carried a drug overdose death rate of 23.5 deaths per 100,000 population. The lawsuit claims the defendants — which include four physicians, three drug distributors and at least four drug manufacturers — facilitated opioid misuse by promoting and distributing a large amount of opioid painkillers in the area.

"Cuyahoga County has been hit terribly hard by the opioid epidemic," said Armond Budish, county executive for Cuyahoga County. "In 2016, we lost more people to this epidemic than to deaths from homicides, suicides and auto accidents combined. But it is also costing taxpayers. This year alone, we have had to bear the burden of increased costs to the Medical Examiner's office, increased costs of supplying drugs like Narcan to save victims of overdose and additional cost of children in the foster care system because of a parent's death or drug addiction."

The county seeks to recoup funds used to address the opioid crisis through the lawsuit.

In May, Ohio's Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a lawsuit against five opioid manufacturers on behalf of the state.

More articles on opioids: 
Endo to receive royalties from generic opioid it once called 'unsafe': 7 things to know 
After directive from Trump, HHS declares opioid crisis public health emergency  
WellCare Health Plans' pilot program cuts opioid dispensing in half

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