SCHUYLER COUNTY, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - Schuyler County is the latest New York county to sue Big Pharma. The county blames the opioid epidemic on their dishonest marketing.
Local lawmakers voted Morning night, to declare the opioid epidemic a "public nuisance," the first step in moving forward with the lawsuit.
The Schuyler County Legislature wants reimbursements for the abuse costs, such as social services, treatment, and law enforcement.
Elizabeth Grieco was at the public hearing to share her sons battle with the addictive drug.
"I found him laying on his bed," Grieco said. "I tried to revive him, call the ambulance, last thing I saw of him was leaving the house with a machine on him to make him breathe."
Despite treatments, Grieco says the addiction took over.
"He was an addict for 9 years," Grieco said. "He tried to fight it hard, he kept coming back. He has a 7-year-old daughter so he wanted to be clean for her."
Steven Getman, Schuler County Attorney, says big pharmaceutical companies have hooked an entire generation, and taxpayers should not have to pay the price.
"There's an increasing body of evidence that big pharmaceutical companies have deceptively and fraudulently advertised, manufactured, and marketed opioids, and encouraged doctors to over prescribe," Getman said.
Most recently, one head of Big Pharma, Martin Shkreli, was sentenced to 7 years in prison for defrauding investors.
Getman said any dollar won by Big Pharma is a dollar that stays in the county government to help fund existing treatment programs.
For Grieco, it is a great first step, but she says going after Big Pharma should not be the only focus.
"We have treatment centers now, but they aren't doing the job," Grieco said. "They are in there for 6 months and then they are out. They have halfway houses go to afterwards, but they don't pay attention to them. My son was using in a halfway house."
Schuyler County is not the only county to sue Big Pharma, at least 16 other counties across the state have also filed suit.
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