York County Has Filed Suit Against Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors
York County (PA) is one of the hardest hit communities facing escalating costs associated with combating the opioid epidemic. Recognizing the growing burden on our taxpayers, on Friday, December 8, 2017, York County filed a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas seeking to recover damages for use of public resources to fight the opioid crisis.
The complaint which includes close to 25 defendants, alleges that the manufacturers, distributors and other entities intentionally mislead the public about the dangers of opioids. The 252-page complaint outlines the history of how these defendants downplayed the risks associated with opioids such as OxyContin, Fentanyl and Percocet. This negligent behavior has led to a significant increase in our budgets including first responder overtime, Narcan training, emergency care, treatment, loss of tourism and community productivity.
Joseph L. Ciaccio, a senior associate at Napoli Shkolnik, a firm the County has partnered with in this endeavor said, “York County’s commitment is evident in their establishment of the ‘York County Regional Opiate Collaborative’, a task force formed in 2014. The economic drain on the county is ongoing and we hope to recover funds for York so they can continue to rebuild their community.”
Deaths in York County related to opioid abuse including heroin have skyrocketed in recent years. In fact, in the past decade, opioid overdose deaths in York have quadrupled. Since 2016 alone, there have been 300 reported overdose deaths in York County with 19 just this past month. This is particularly alarming as the resources allocated and available are stretched. “These suits will hopefully help to establish programs on early education and the expansion of treatment options for addicts,” added Shayna E. Sacks, a partner at Napoli Shkolnik.
If York were to win the lawsuit, officials said, they would use the money to expand treatment options for addicts and establish programs for early education. “Everybody is at the end of the rope with regard to the amount of resources that they’re putting into this epidemic,” said District Attorney-elect David Sunday.
There will be no cost to the York County taxpayers with this filing.
A team comprised of District Attorney Elect, David Sunday, Tim Barker, Chief Prosecutor for Policy and Research, and County Solicitor Glenn Smith interviewed a number of potential law firms to represent the County in this suit. The County is represented by the firm of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC in coordination with the York County Solicitor’s Office.
In the News
York County sues opioid companies, TribLIVE (12/14/17)
York County sues 25 opioid manufacturers, distributors York Dispatch (12/10/17)
York County Files Lawsuit Against The Opioid Industry: Report PA PENN LIVE ( 12/9/17)
York County goes after drug makers, distributors, blaming them for opioid epidemic York Daily Record (Part of the USA Today Network) (12/8/17)
- The pharmaceutical companies convinced the medical community and public that these drugs were not addictive,” said Ciaccio. “Most companies existed before the opioid epidemic but saw an opportunity to expand the drug from the small business of end-of-life and post-surgery to a much larger market for everything from major injuries to minor aches and pains,” he added.