Oswego County joins growing list of counties suing over opioid crisis

Jan 8, 2018

Oswego County is the latest New York county to file a lawsuit against drug manufacturers and distributors for the costs its incurred dealing with the opioid crisis.

In the lawsuit, Oswego County says it lost at least 67 residents to opioid-related overdoses between 2009 and 2014. And the number of emergency department admissions related to opioids in 2014 increased 113 percent from 2010.

It's financially strained Oswego County's government, including social services, the judicial system and law enforcement.

"These costs include unnecessary and excessive opioid prescriptions, substance abuse treatment services, ambulatory services, emergency department services, and inpatient hospital services, among others," said attorney Paul Hanly, who's representing Oswego County, in a press release.

So Oswego County is suing pharmaceutical companies and physicians, alleging they lied about the addictive nature of the drugs and failed to report suspicious activity that led to the widespread distribution of the pills.

Hanly says his firm Simmons Hanly Conroy has filed 170 similar cases nationwide.

"I think it’s probably the largest litigation in United States judicial history, frankly," Hanly said. "It potentially is going to involve thousands of counties and cities and states as well."

Hanly's firm is also representing Broome, Dutchess, Erie, Orange, Schenectady, Seneca, Suffolk and Sullivan counties. 

Onondaga, Oneida and Tompkins counties are also pursuing legal action against opioid manufacturers.