Commissioners move forward on lawsuit

By Nikki Blankenship -

Scioto County Commissioners moved forward on a lawsuit aimed at making prescription drug wholesalers pay for the harm they did in the ongoing opiate epidemic.

Thursday, commissioners passed a resolution authorizing the county prosecutors office to hire outside counsel to represent the county, a move required by Ohio Revised Code.

On June 6, Scioto County Commissioners passed a resolution explaining that the commissioners have the “authority to abate, or cause to be abated, any public nuisance including those acts that significantly interfere with public health, safety and peace.” The resolution further explains that “there exists a serious public health crisis in Scioto County involving opioid abuse, addiction, morbidity and mortality.

The resolution further declared the opiate epidemic a “serious public health crisis.”

“[R]ecent media sources have documented the role of the wholesale distributors in contributing to this public health crisis by refusing to abide by federal regulations specifically designed to prevent the diversion of prescription opiates into the illicit market,” the resolution confirmed.

Scioto County has retained the Law Firms of Lancione & Lancione, LLC and Greene, Ketchum, Farrell, Bailey and Tweel, LLC on a contingent fee basis to investigate and hold accountable those in the chain of distribution, including wholesale distributors, who the Commissioners have said by resolution have “caused this public nuisance” and to seek all civil remedies available under Ohio law.

The City of Portsmouth is following in a similar action and plans to retain the same law firm.

The resolution passed by Commissioners on Thursday was another step towards the prosecutors office filing suit.

By Nikki Blankenship