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00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69e980000Day after day, week after week, the headlines in Northeast Ohio and across much of the country contain news of tragic loss: lives lost to opioids. It’s a problem that knows no bounds: geography, race, gender, level of education or income.The problem took on new urgency this summer as the powerful elephant sedative, Carfentanil, began hitting the streets. First responders armed with their only weapon, the overdose antidote Naloxone, have struggled to keep up with what’s become an overwhelming problem. It’s an issue that’s straining public and social resources. What has become clear is that business as usual is not going to fix the problem.WKSU news has been covering the unfolding crisis. Tuesdays during Morning Edition, the WKSU news team digs even deeper. WKSU reporters will examine what’s led us here and what might be done to turn the tide. Support for Opioids: Turning the Tide in the Crisis comes from Wayne Savings Community Bank, Kent State University Office of Continuing and Distance Education, Hometown Grocery Delivery, Mercy Medical Center, AxessPointe Community Health Center, Community Support Services, Inc., Medina County District Library and Hudson Community First.00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69e980001

Cuyahoga County Announces It's Suing Addictive Painkiller Makers and Distributors

Photo of Armond Budish
Matt Richmond

Cuyahoga County is suing the manufacturers and distributors of addictive opioidss, adding to a growing list of local governments across Ohio to do so.

“If we’re waiting for help from Washington, it is not coming,” says Mike O'Malley.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor O’Malley joined county Executive Armond Budish to announce the civil case Friday. The county is suing pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for the cost it’s incurred for medical, emergency, social and law enforcement services as a result of the region's opioid epidemic.

The suit alleges the manufacturers misrepresented the addictiveness of the drugs and the distributors failed to notify government agencies of sthe uspiciously large number of pills being sold by certain pharmacies and doctors who operated pill mills.

Budish says more than 600 county residents died from opioid-related overdoses last year.

“They manufactured and distributed these addictive drugs in violation of the law, endangering the lives of thousands of our residents, and they did it just to make huge profits,” says Budish.

Ohio’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit earlier this year against about a half dozen drug makers, some of which are included in the Cuyahoga County case. He did not sue the distributors, including Cardinal Health, which is based in Ohio. Summit County announced earlier this week it -- along with Akron, Barberton and Cuyahoga Falls -- expect to sue the drug makers and distributors in a few weeks.