Thirty California counties filed lawsuits this week against key drug manufacturers and distributors, claiming they were responsible for the opioid epidemic.
According to the CDC, 4,654 Californians died of opioid overdoses in 2016.
In 2015, doctors wrote more than 24 million opioid prescriptions for Californians. Sacramento County had the highest number of prescriptions with 1.2 million.
Therefore, Sacramento Placer, El Dorado, Sutter, Yuba, and 25 other California countries are joining to fight the opioid crisis. The group is called the California Opioid Consortium.
"I think this is one of the few ways that there will be a solution," said attorney John Fiske. "You have to hit these companies where it hurts the most, what's in their letters." [1
"We think this is a multi-billion dollar problem nationwide and it will probably require a multi-billion dollar solution nationwide," said Fiske.
The more than 300-page lawsuit filed on behalf of Yuba County on Tuesday said the local government is suing "to eliminate the threat to public health and safety caused by the opioid epidemic ".
The lawsuit alleges that companies created a public harassment because "manufacturers aggressively market highly addictive, dangerous opioids and falsely told doctors that patients would rarely succumb to drug addiction."
According to the lawsuit from 2012 to 2014 There were 22 overdose deaths in Yuba County.
"We need to take care of people as best we can, but it's something that did not have to come this far," Yuba County spokesman and legislative coordinator Russ Brown
"It affects all levels of public safety: the medical Page, the law enforcement, the prosecutor, the prisons, "said Brown. "They have all been influenced in some way, and the costs are being transferred to the counties, and quite (to) the taxpayers."
The counties seek to receive tax money they have spent to treat the effects of the drugs who made them is responsible.
"So if we can influence the bottom line, they'll change the way they do business – which will change the communities for the better," said Fiske.
Brown admits are only a first step, this will be a long process.
Fiske said the California lawsuits are being transferred to the Ohio multi-jurisdictional district. A judge will oversee more than 500 lawsuits nationwide.
Fiske said a big challenge is imminent.
"How will the judge practice justice, knowing that there are 500 public bodies that have suffered these losses?" He asked.
KCRA contacted several pharmaceutical companies on y. None were available for comment.