Brown County considers joining lawsuit against drug companies over opioid crisis

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. - Another 20 Wisconsin counties have filed lawsuits accusing pharmaceutical companies of causing the nation's opioid overdose epidemic, and Brown County could soon join them.

Two thirds of Wisconsin's counties have now filed lawsuits.

The Brown County Corporation Counsel took the first step towards potentially joining the lawsuits Wednesday by going before the Public Safety Committee for approval moving forward.

The counsel argued the opioid epidemic is a strain on the county, with an increase in arrests, people in jail and in drug treatment, as well as children being placed in foster homes.

"It really does touch almost every aspect of the community, and it's quite costly for the county to be providing these extra services that are caused by the opioid crisis," said David Hemery with the Brown County Corporation Counsel.

Named in previous complaints are Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Endo Health Solutions, Inc. and subsidiaries of the companies. Previous lawsuits accuse the manufacturers of misleading the public about the safety of opioid-based drugs.

All have denied the allegations in the Wisconsin lawsuits and others across the country.

The lawsuits seek unspecified monetary damages from the companies.

The Brown County Corporation Counsel must clear two more committees before taking their request to sue to the full county board on December 13.

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