Will County takes on Big Pharma in opioid battle
As the battle against opioid abuse heats up across the country, Will County is the latest Illinois county to join a lawsuit against the drugs’ manufacturers, according to a press release from the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Calling the opioid crisis a “corporate-caused drug epidemic,” State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow joined DuPage, Kane and McHenry counties in the suit against Big Pharma companies, including Purdue Pharma, Abbott Laboratories, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen.
“In Will County we have creative law enforcement agencies and community organizations that have developed cutting-edge approaches to battling the opioid crisis, but we have still seen the number of overdose deaths increase dramatically over the years,” Glasgow said in the release. “It is time we take steps to begin holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for practices that created the demand for these deadly narcotics as well as their failure to disclose damaging research that demonstrated their highly addictive nature.”
The release cited sobering statistics about the public-health impact of opioid abuse. Will County saw 53 overdose deaths in 2015, while the state reported 1,200 deaths in 2016 from overdoses of the painkillers. Illinois is one of 14 states with a death rate from abuse higher than 8.3 percent, according to Illinois Department of Public Health figures.