Niagara County lawmakers consider taking next step in opioid fight

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) – In Niagara County, lawmakers are taking an important step in their lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies that make opioids.

According to Legislator Rebecca Wydysh, stats show Niagara County is fourth per capita statewide in opioid prescriptions. In 2017, 31 people died from an overdose, and more than 300 survived an overdose there.

Lawmakers are looking to fight back against pharmaceutical companies that develop and market these drugs. At legislative committee meetings Monday night, Wydysh will push legislation that would allow the county to officially declare the opioid crisis a “public nuisance”.

Wydysh says it comes at the recommendation of the county attorney, and will bolster the county’s lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies. Lawmakers voted to file that suit last year. They are looking to recoup costs associated with fighting the problem.

“The increase to our law enforcement departments,” Wydysh gave as an example, “the increase to things like medical insurance to treat programs, the recidivism rates you see at the law enforcement level with the people you see committing crime after crime because of their drug dependency and addictions.”

The legislation could be voted on by the full legislature as soon as March 20th.

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