Salt Lake County to sue drugmakers over opioid epidemic

Salt Lake County officials on Monday shared plans to file suit against multiple drugmakers for their alleged roles in Utah's opioid epidemic.

Ben McAdams, the Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County, said the crisis is straining the county's legal system and limiting bed availability for individuals seeking addiction treatment.

"Utah is dealing with the public health crisis that is devastating counties across America, due to the sales and overdose deaths of highly-addictive opioid pain pills," Mr. McAdams said. "In 2014 opioids generated $11 billion in revenue for drug companies. But the people who became addicted couldn't afford to buy the pills on the street or get into substance use treatment, so for too many, the alternative was heroin."

Twenty-four Utah residents died of a prescription drug overdose every month in 2015, according to The Salt Lake City Tribune

"As our colleagues in other counties across the country are learning, the cost of this crisis — in terms of lives and dollars — shows no sign of falling in the short term," Mr. McAdams said. "We have to do what we can to hold the drug makers accountable for the harm inflicted on people, families and taxpayers."

More articles on opioids: 
Newly formed Opioid Network calls for $45B to fight opioid epidemic 
8 recent opioid epidemic lawsuits 
GAO: CMS failed to identify thousands of Medicare beneficiaries at risk for opioid addiction

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