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July 11, 2017

Rensselaer County Legislature Authorizes the County to Commence Litigation
Against Manufacturers and Distributors of Prescription Opioids


Troy, NY - - As evidence continues to mount that the opioid epidemic is a direct result of the purposeful action of the pharmaceutical industry, including its manufacturers and distributors, the Rensselaer County Legislature voted unanimously at their July 11, 2017 meeting to authorize the County to retain a law firm and begin litigation against manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids.

The New York City based firm of Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC will be retained to represent Rensselaer County at no cost to Rensselaer County taxpayers. Napoli Shkolnik also represents Nassau County in a similar lawsuit.

“We’ve seen research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that 259 million prescriptions for opioids were written in 2012 alone [1]. That’s enough to give every adult in America a bottle of pills and no one with an ounce of common sense could believe the pharmaceutical industry didn’t know what it was doing,” said Legislator Todd Tesman.

“We cannot replace the lives that have been lost, but we can and must do everything in our power to fight this epidemic, educate our communities about the dangers of opioids and go after those who have profited from this epidemic,” said Legislator Robert Loveridge.

“The opioid addiction crisis is wreaking havoc across our communities and this lawsuit seeks to hold accountable those pharmaceutical companies that misled doctors and patients into thinking that these medications were not addictive and thus could be widely used.  The result of their actions has led many to life threatening health situations that effect not only the individual caught up in addiction but their families and entire communities.  Our effort seeks bring about the resources necessary to help those currently suffering from the disease of addiction as well as prevent the crisis from growing even farther,” stated Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen M. Jimino.

The lawsuit will seek to recover costs to the county as a direct result of the purposeful over-prescription of opioids. These costs include, but are not limited to: increased substance abuse programs, insurance and Medicaid costs, and increased law enforcement costs.

“We have seen the destruction caused by this national epidemic in our own backyard. We are taking action against those who have caused and profited from this destruction,” said Legislator Kelly Hoffman.

“The trauma of addiction to opioids has affected countless families I know who you would never believe would have to deal with this horror. This is beyond an epidemic,” said Legislator Judith Breselor.

“I am happy to see the Legislature addressing this issue that is at a crisis stage in this county. The responsible parties who have exacerbated this must be held accountable,” said Legislator Philip Danaher.

“This epidemic is devastating our community and I am proud the Legislature took this action,” said Legislator Robert Bayly.

“Far too many people, including some in my hometown of Hoosick, have overdosed. I was proud to support authorizing the County to begin this much needed litigation,” said Legislator Jeff Wysocki.

“This crisis is affecting not just our youth, but every demographic in both the City of Rensselaer and the county as a whole. For this reason I am proud to support this important resolution,” said Legislator Michael Stammel.

“These drugs are poisoning our county and we know they have been over produced and over distributed. The Legislature needed to take this serious action,” said Legislator Leon Fiacco.