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Apache Co. files lawsuit over opioid epidemic

WINDOW ROCK

Apache County has filed a lawsuit against manufacturers, distributors and prescribers of opioids.

Filing in Apache County Superior Court, the county is seeking damages for the societal and financial harm it has suffered at the hands of those responsible for the opioid crisis – the manufacturers, distributors and prescribers of opioids.

The county is seeking a return of taxpayer dollars lost as a result of the opioid crisis and other relief to support the residents of Apache County, as stated in the suit.

Michael Whiting, Apache County attorney, said the problem of opioid abuse and addiction is one that pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributers and prescribers were well aware of in the county.

With Apache County being the poorest county in Arizona, it has made it easier for opioid manufacturers to increase the number of opioid prescriptions by concealing the truth about the risk of addiction and death associated with long-term use of their products.

They also pressure their respective sales forces to deceive (even bribe) local prescribers to flood Arizona – and Apache County – with enough opioid prescriptions for every single person, according to the suit.

There is reported to have been 431 million opioid pills prescribed in 2016, and that is enough for every Arizonan to have a 2.5 week supply.


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About The Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at abecenti@navajotimes.com.