County weighs suing opioid manufacturers

Marina Riker By Marina Riker

Dec. 3, 2017 at 5 p.m.
Updated Dec. 4, 2017 at 6:02 a.m.

   Advocate file photos for The Victoria Advocate

Victoria County may become one of several Texas counties that are suing drug companies to help offset financial impacts of the opioid crisis.

Monday, commissioners are planning to discuss whether the county should sue prescription painkiller manufacturers. This comes as multiple Texas counties recently sued drug companies, accusing them of powering the opioid addiction crisis and downplaying the risks of the painkillers.

"Even in Victoria County, we're seeing negative impacts and expenses associated with the opioid epidemic," County Judge Ben Zeller said.

During Monday's meeting, attorneys and county officials will discuss the human and economic costs of opioid addiction in Victoria. The leading physician for the county jail also plans to talk about how the drugs affect the jail population, Zeller said.

Nationwide, opioid-related deaths account for more than 60 percent of the overdoses in the U.S. - a figure that has quadrupled since 1999, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

In 2015, there were more than 33,000 opioid-related deaths in the U.S., 1,186 of which were in Texas.


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