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VOL. 133 | NO. 77 | Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Idaho Counties Suing Drug Makers for Enabling Opioid Abuse

AP

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Several Idaho counties are taking their fight against opioid overdoses to the courtroom.

The counties are suing the makers of OxyContin, Lortab and other opioids, accusing them of offenses such as fraud, false advertising and racketeering, the Idaho Statesman reported .

Their lawsuits have been consolidated into a case involving municipalities across the country now being overseen by a federal court in Ohio.

In the last two months, counties from Owyhee to Blaine to Bonneville have joined in.

Owyhee County's commissioners voted Feb. 20 to sue. Commissioner Kelly Aberasturi said he wanted the county to join in a lawsuit "so that the drug companies just don't go out there to make the almighty dollar; they think about what they're doing."

Boise County's commissioners voted March 6 to sign on. Camas and Gooding county commissioners decided about a month ago to join in the litigation, according to Matt Pember, prosecutor for both counties.

"We really wanted to stand behind (this)," Pember said. "We knew what a problem the opioid crisis was, and the commissioners felt like it was a good statement to try and stand up for the general public."

Each of the counties hopes to get some compensation for the indirect costs of opioid use.

Canyon County is considering joining the lawsuit, according to the Idaho Press-Tribune. County spokesman Joe Decker said officials plan to meet with two law firms late this month to talk about options.

Oscar Klaas, an Ada County civil deputy prosecutor, said Ada County has been approached by law firms to join in the litigation and hasn't yet made a decision.

The Idaho counties that sue somehow will have to determine how much they have been damaged by the opioid epidemic.

Death certificates for the past several years have recorded hundreds of overdose deaths in Idaho involving opioids.

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Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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