By sharing painkillers, friends and family can fuel opioid epidemic

 

Thirty-six legislators are calling on Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel to sue pharmaceutical companies for deceptive and fraudulent marketing practices to sell dangerous prescription drugs.

The Democrats say the drugs have led to an opioid epidemic, and the number of overdose deaths has doubled from 2006 to 2015.

Between 2013 and 2015 alone, opioid overdoses led to 1,824 deaths in Wisconsin.

Since 2013, the Legislature has committed more than $14 million to combat the opioid epidemic through the Heroin Opioid Prevention and Education–HOPE initiative.

The state also has seen increased costs for law enforcement, hospitalizations and emergency room visits, foster care placements and other services to children and families, first responders, court services, and other services as a direct result of opioid abuse.

Two-thirds of all counties in Wisconsin have filed or authorized lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies to hold them accountable for their role in creating this opioid epidemic.

“The pharmaceutical companies that make these drugs have raked in big profits while creating a public health epidemic that has cost our state thousands of lives and millions of dollars,” said Democratic state Rep. Lisa Subeck. “That is why we are calling on Attorney General Schimel to stop dragging his feet and finally join the two-thirds of Wisconsin counties, seven states and other jurisdictions throughout the country by filing a lawsuit on behalf of the people of Wisconsin to hold the pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in creating the opioid epidemic.”

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