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Lexington Filing Suit Against Opiod Makers, Distributors

Stu Johnson

The Lexington-Fayette government is joining 34 other Kentucky counties in suing close to two dozen wholesale drug distributors and manufacturers. 

Mayor Jim Gray announced the opioid-related federal lawsuit Thursday.

The lawsuit seeks to hold a total of 20 drug manufacturers or distributors accountable for the amount of opioids coming into the Lexington community. 

Calling it the next step in the community’s war on opioids, Mayor Gray said overdose deaths in Lexington doubled from 2013 to 2016. He says Fayette County ranks second in Kentucky for heroin related deaths. 

In addition to recovering costs, Gray hopes the legal action sends a message.

“Profits are, of course essential to businesses to industries, to the economy.  But, profits should never come before people, and that’s the message we’re sending here.”

The mayor said it’s too early to quote a dollar amount that Lexington hopes to recover through the legal action. 

In addition to police and fire costs, community officials cite about a million dollars spent annually for drug treatment, $150,000 a year to support the needle exchange program, and increasing costs for Narcan, a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses. 

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