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The Opioid Crisis in Wisconsin

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At Casey Law Offices, S.C., we focus exclusively on prosecuting injury claims to ensure negligent individuals and businesses are held responsible for irresponsible behavior resulting in injury, so those who are harmed are fairly compensated. We represent Wisconsinites who have suffered a variety of injuries, including those related to the national opioid crisis.

In recent weeks, we published a Three-Part Series, “The Opioid Epidemic in Wisconsin,” where we explored how and why the abuse of prescription opioid drugs has become a national crisis, pharmaceutical companies’ role in the growing epidemic and how government and individuals are holding these companies responsible.

Due to the continued demand from our clients for information on this subject, we will be offering regular updates on the opioid crisis, including this one.

Wisconsin Counties Working together to Recoup Costs of Opioid Crisis

As the number of opioid-related deaths grows each year, so do the costs to local communities. The drug addiction epidemic is shattering not just lives and families, but also burdening county budgets, which we pay for through our taxes. In Wisconsin County, millions of dollars have been spent on programs and services aimed at curbing the crisis, said Margaret Daun, Wisconsin County’s Corporate Counsel.

Counties grappling with rising overdoses face higher costs in emergency call volumes, medical examiner and coroner bills, and overcrowded jails and courtrooms, said Matt Chase, executive director of the National Association of Counties, which represents 3,069 county and local governments.

Recognizing the costs of the crisis, a growing number of counties in Wisconsin are banding together to join in a lawsuit against opioid drug manufacturers with the goal of recovering local costs. The Wisconsin Counties Association is hopeful that a significant majority of the state’s 72 counties will participate in the lawsuit. Wisconsin County is planning to discuss the lawsuit in early November. The lawsuit claims that drug makers engaged in fraud, misrepresentation, and false advertisement while pushing their products.

Complex lawsuits, such as this one, are more often than not lengthy, laborious endeavors, which can take up to years to settle. It may be a very long time before the counties recover the costs. In the meantime, Wisconsin County Executive Chris Abele has requested $1.1 million in new funding in the county's 2018, budget to help two key agencies deal with the opioid crisis and addiction. The money would help fund the purchase of an advanced mass spectrometer instrument to help the medical examiner's office reduce testing time for opioids and other drugs.

The push to cut testing time will help law enforcement and public health officials to close cases more quickly and alert the public when a spate of fatal drugs flow into the community. Abele will also request funding for an additional medical examiner and forensic chemist to help the office cope with a surge of drug-related deaths. Abele is also asking for an additional $700,000 for the AODA (Alcohol and Other Drug Addiction) residential program, which serves county residents who struggle with drug and or alcohol abuse. The County’s Behavioral Health Division is budgeting $200,000 to sponsor a peer-run respite program. The nonmedical program is designed to help individuals through a short-term crisis, and connect them to services.

In a statement, Abele said: “The alarming and continuing rise in drug-related deaths is a public health crisis that is tearing families apart and straining public safety resources throughout the county. It is imperative we invest resources into prevention and recovery. That includes supporting law enforcement as they cut off deadly supplies of drugs, and working with individuals and families who are battling addiction."

Contact Our Wisconsin Dangerous Drugs Lawyers Today

Casey Law Offices, S.C. is committed to obtaining justice for our clients. Our knowledgeable staff is not afraid to take on large corporate defendants, and we have helped many clients obtain financial settlements for their injuries. If you have suffered an opioid addiction due to the negligence of a drug manufacturer or distributor, our team can help. We can investigate the situation, build your case, and work hard to help you seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. With decades of legal experience, our Wisconsin dangerous drug attorneys can guide you through the process and aggressively uphold your right to a financial settlement in court.

Contact our office today for a free consultation.