Lake County Commissioners vote unanimously to sue opioid distributors, manufacturers

A unanimous decision during the Lake County Commissioners Meeting on Tuesday resulted in hiring a law firm to sue the manufacturers, distributors and even so-called "pill mill" doctors who prescribe opioids.

"There are some folks who are suing that manufacturers, but I think this goes far, it not only gets the manufacturers, but also the distributors," said commissioner Daniel Troy.

Experts say after patients ran out of opioid prescriptions while trying to manage pain, they turned to the streets to satisfy their addictions.

"We're just hearing from all the experts that a lot of people that are now addicted to things like street heroin," said Troy.

With drug addiction comes other problems, like children left without parents and an increase in crime.

"We've had to beef up a special task force in our sheriffs department to investigate and go after a lot of these illegal operations where people are stealing items from either family members or from breaking and entering into homes and obviously turning this into cash to feed this habit," he said.

It's all costing the county money - possibly several hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, according to Commissioner Troy's estimates.

"There is a great deal of responsibility in our opinion on the part of the drug manufacturers and the distributors for this problem that our society is dealing with," he said.

Now that the commissioners have approved the measure, the next step is for a court of common pleas judge to approve it, which commissioners think won't be a problem. The firm won't collect any money from the county unless a settlement amount is reached.

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