Two more Hudson Valley counties are holding drug companies accountable for deceptive practices that led to the current opioid epidemic, including many local deaths.

On Thursday, Sullivan County filed suit against a range of pharmaceutical companies, asking the courts to punish these firms for engaging in practices that worsened the prescription opioid abuse epidemic simply for profit’s sake.

“While we can’t bring back those who have lost their lives as a result of drug abuse,” Legislator Alan Sorensen said. “We can hold these companies accountable for their predatory practices in promoting addictive substances to consumers.”

On Friday, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein announced he directed the Ulster County Attorney to start litigation against major pharmaceutical companies due to their deceptive and aggressive marketing, and other actions that have fueled the national opioid crisis and affected Ulster County’s residents.

“I have been to far too many wakes and funerals with grieving families as they suffer the loss of their children to overdoses, and I am pleased that counties across America are standing up to these companies who are preying on our citizens,” Hein said. “The actions of these multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies have had a disgraceful negative impact on our entire nation; and at the local level they have harmed our medical system, the county’s finances and, worst of all, the health and well-being of many Ulster County residents.”

Last Tuesday, Dutchess County filed a lawsuit against 11 pharmaceutical companies. Orange County did the same in May.

The lawsuits also point to criminal activity, including drug-trafficking offenses, as well as costs the counties paid and continues to pay to fight the opioid epidemic. The lawsuit seeks relief including compensatory and punitive damages for the tax dollars spent each year to combat this public health crisis.

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