Posted at 2:10 p.m. on November 7, 2017
The Brillion News
WEST BEND – Just under 40 percent of the county governments in Wisconsin are filing lawsuits against five big pharmaceutical manufacturers and their subsidiaries for causing and profiting from the opioid drug epidemic.
The 28 counties held a joint press conference on Tuesday in West Bend, the Washington County seat, to explain their action.
Most of the counties filing the federal lawsuits are rural counties whose budgets have been hard hit by the consequences of heroin and opioid painkiller addiction.
The counties in our area joining in the suits are Door, Fond du Lac, Oconto and Shawano.
Erin Dickinson, one of the partners in the high-stakes Milwaukee law firm of Crueger Dickinson, said the five opioid painkiller manufacturers are responsible for the epidemic by their manufacture and distribution of the drugs.
“These companies’ aggressive and fraudulent marketing of prescription opioid painkillers as safe and efficacious for long-term use has led to a drug epidemic in both Wisconsin and around the nation,” Dickinson said. She said 150 people per day are dying of opioid overdoses.
“Overdoses are just the tip of the iceberg, however,” she said. “County governments are bearing the brunt of the costs of this crisis … [which had] overwhelmed county-provided services and has a devastating effect on the counties’ ability to pay for those services.”