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Putnam Suing Pharmaceutical Companies Over Opioid Epidemic

County Executive MaryEllen Odell
County Executive MaryEllen Odell Photo Credit: File

Putnam County is aiming to hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for the opioid crisis that has devastated the county.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell said Putnam is joining other New York counties in a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies and distributors, claiming they caused the opioid crisis through fraudulent and negligent marketing and the distribution of opioid pain medications.

“New York State has been one of the hardest hit states in the nation, with the rate of prescription and heroin overdoses exceeding almost every other state in the country; and Putnam County is not immune from it,” said Odell.

Odell said she was inspired by the lawsuits against the tobacco industry in the 1990s. Last week, the Putnam County Board of Legislators voted 8-0 to hire a law firm to represent Putnam's interests in the New York Opioid Cost Recovery litigation.

The goal of the litigation would be to fully compensate Putnam for unnecessary cost incurred as a result of prescription opioid abuse, including workplace costs relative to the loss of productivity, healthcare costs such as abuse treatment and criminal justice costs, the county said.

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