Hamilton County may file suit over the costly opioid epidemic that claimed 59 lives in the county in 2015 alone.
The County Commission on Wednesday morning approved moving forward with a working agreement with local attorney Ronnie Berke, who is associated with some well-known national attorneys who are working full-time on the issue in jurisdictions across the country.
Attorney Berke said there will be an effort to determine how much fighting the epidemic has cost county agencies, including the expense of healthcare and prosecution. There is also the cost for fire departments, EMS, etc.
The attorney said the legal group has identified pharmaceutical companies and drug distributors who are culpable in causing the major problem. He said those entities convinced doctors that the opioids, that he said were intended for end-stage cancer, were not addictive.
He said a final determination on whether a lawsuit would be filed by Hamilton County would be up to County Mayor Jim Coppinger and the commission.
Attorney Berke said it is hoped to be able to file the lawsuit in state court and avoid being caught up in a multi-jurisdictional federal class action case.