Sullivan County to Commence a Lawsuit against Various Manufacturers of Prescription Opiates   

(Monticello, NY 4:00pm) - The Sullivan County Legislature unanimously voted today, at their 2:00pm full board meeting, to enter into a retainer agreement with the law firm of Simmons Hanly Conroy, LLC to commence a lawsuit on behalf of the County of Sullivan against various manufacturers of prescription opiates.

“The time is long overdue to hold the pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in creating the opioid addiction crisis,” stated Alan Sorensen, Majority Leader and District 9 Legislator.

“After seeing Governor Cuomo’s comprehensive report on the opioid overdoses of medications, this is a movement heading in the right direction,” stated Legislative Chairman Luis Alvarez. “I fully stand behind the unanimous decision that the Legislature made today and support all the other counties on this task,” continued Alvarez.

The County Legislature along with many public officials including the Sullivan County Sheriff, District Attorney, Coroners, the County Manager and various County agencies, have serious concerns regarding the growing opioid addiction and increase in deaths in the County which have been linked to opioid overdoses.

“In regards to the addictions and deaths we have seen in the county lately due to opioid abuse we need to hold the pharmaceuticals responsible for formulating and manufacturing these pain medications accountable,” stated Nadia Rajsz, District 2 Legislator and Chair of the Health & Family Services Committee.

In April, Sullivan County Manager Joshua Potosek, officially declared a public health crisis related to the opioid epidemic that exists in Sullivan County and the Legislature ordered the creation of the Opioid Epidemic Task Force.

“We are tackling the National Opioid epidemic from many angles with the creation of the Opioid Task force, public education, and law enforcement and now with a multi-county lawsuit against various manufactures of prescription opiates,” stated Terri Ward, District 5 Legislator and Chair of the Public Safety and Law Enforcement Committee. “We will continue to do all we can in the county, from a public safety perspective, to combat the tragedies this epidemic has caused,” continued Ward.

In addition to the Opioid Task Force efforts, the Legislature voted today to pursue litigation against certain pharmaceutical companies who engaged in and financially benefitted from a course of conduct meant to mislead doctors, patients and the medical community, and whose conduct resulted in, among other things, over-prescribed opioid medications that caused increased emergency room admissions, increased opioid overdoses, increased Medicaid costs, and increased law enforcement costs.

For more information about this press release, please contact Josh Potosek, County Manager, at 845-807-0450.