Champaign County to hire lawyers to sue opioid manufacturers

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND): Champaign County has joined counties across the state in suing opioid manufacturers.

"It's an issue that has impacted all sorts of people and counties in Illinois and all across the country," Ryan Bradley, of Koester & Bradley, LLP, says.

The issue on the table is opioids. The Champaign County Board has unanimously voted to pursue legal action against the drug makers.

"The intent of the litigation is to allow the county to recover the expenses associated with the opioid epidemic," Bradley says.

He says, the opioid epidemic has cost counties in many different ways.

"It can be anything from the coroner's office and the inability to preform autopsies to nalaxone and the drugs given to overdose patients, health care, insurance cost," Bradley says. "Internally, lost productivity and lost time to the county law enforcement jails... it's kind of every layer that you peel back the more impact that you find."

Koester and Bradley is one of three firms on the case across the state. He says there is a lot of validity in claims that opioid manufacturers are partly to blame for the opioid epidemic.

"The science and the data behind our arguments will prove to show that there was some knowledge that the opioids and drugs were actually highly addictive instead of minimally addictive," Bradley says, "and that the process was one that was flawed from the start."

Lawyers say it could be months, or even years, before the case makes it to trial.

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