Clark County files lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, wholesalers

On March 27, Clark County filed a lawsuit in federal court against pharmaceutical manufacturers and wholesalers that manufacture, distribute and sell prescription opioids.

With the filing, Clark County joins more than 400 jurisdictions nationwide that seek to hold the companies accountable for harm opioid addiction has done in their communities and recover public costs.

The lawsuit contends the drug manufacturers contributed to the opioid crisis by deliberately providing false and misleading information to doctors and patients about the safety of prescription opioids.

The rise of prescription opioids in Clark County was followed closely by a dramatic rise in heroin use, bringing a great emotional and financial toll to the community.

In the last two years, opioid use caused more deaths in the county than traffic accidents. Between 2014 and 2017, there were 91 opioid-related deaths that did not involve heroin.

Between 2002-04 and 2011-13, publicly funded treatment admission involving opioids grew 246 percent.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office estimates it has spent more than $5.5 million responding to the crisis in the last three years.

Between 2015 and 2017, property loss to victims arising from opioid-related suspects is estimated to be more than $1 million annually.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.