The Kane County Board voted Tuesday (Aug. 8, 2017) to have its State’s Attorney’s Office look into the possibility of joining a class-action suit against opioid manufacturers.
The board passed Resolution 17-244, requesting expert legal determination on the pros and cons of the opioid litigation.
St. Clair County, near East St. Louis, voted in April to file suit against Abbott Laboratories and Purdue Pharma for overstating the benefits of opioids and pushing the prescription of opioid medications for pain relief. The suit alleges that the “opioid epidemic” of the past several years is due in part to use and abuse of heroin and other opioid drugs.
Kane County’s resolution cites “an opioid addiction crisis that crosses all socioeconomic classes and often leads to illicit drug use, crime, overdose and death.”
If the county were to file suit, it would be “to recoup county costs associated with fighting the opioid epidemic” within its borders, the resolution states. That includes costs associated with addiction treatment, anti-opioid programming and training, healthcare, criminal justice and lost productivity.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s Office along with attorneys general across the country have been investigating several opioid manufacturers since last year to determine whether the manufacturers have engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing and sale of opioids and what role the companies may be playing in creating or prolonging the country’s opioid epidemic.
Nationwide and in Illinois, opioids — prescription and illicit — are the main driver of drug overdose deaths, the state Attorney General’s Office said in a news release. Opioids were involved in more than 33,000 deaths nationwide in 2015, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois was one of 14 states with statistically significant increases in overall drug overdose deaths in recent years. In 2015, there were 559 overdose deaths directly attributed to prescription opioids in Illinois, and 1,339 overdose deaths in which opioids were involved.
REQUESTING AN EXPERT LEGAL DETERMINATION FROM THE KANE COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY’S OFFICE ON OPIOID LITIGATION
WHEREAS, throughout the country there is an opioid addiction crisis that crosses all socioeconomic classes and often leads to illicit drug use, crime, overdose and death; and
WHEREAS, lawsuits are being filed by counties and municipalities against manufacturers of prescription opiates in an effort to recoup county costs associated with fighting the opioid epidemic within their borders such as the costs for opioids, addiction treatment costs, social costs, programming and training costs, healthcare costs, criminal justice and victimization costs, and lost productivity costs.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Kane County Board requests an expert legal determination from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office as to whether or not litigation is in the best interest of our constituents.
Passed by the Kane County Board on August 8, 2017.
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