Rockland to file suit against opioid manufacturers following 38 deaths in county

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Rockland County is filing a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, following dozens of deaths in the county last year.

At Nyack Hospital, doctors say numerous patients come into the emergency room due to opioid overdoses.

"I would say we see at least two or three patients a week that have overdosed or maybe been given Narcan,” says Dr. Jeff Rabrichk, medical director of the emergency department at Nyack Hospital.

Officials say 38 people died in Rockland due to opioids in 2018.

The county has been fighting the epidemic from every angle, from enhancing law enforcement to educating doctors. Now they are taking the step of going after Big Pharma.

"When you look at the beginnings of this crisis, you know exactly where it was and that's who we are going after,” says Rockland County Executive Ed Day.

Day signed off on the resolution authorizing a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers.

Officials say the lawsuit will allege that the companies intentionally misled the public about the dangers of opioids.

"We are also looking to hold people accountable who have been behind what we are facing right now,” says Day.
The county hired a law firm where they will select which pharmaceutical companies could be held liable.

Officials at Nyack Hospital say they are already trying to fight the opioid epidemic by educating doctors, screening patients for opioid use disorder and treating addiction as a chronic illness.

"We really have put in place a lot of restrictions on the use of opioid to limiting it to a short three-day or at most five-day supply. We don't refill lost or stolen prescriptions,” says Rabrichk.


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