PROVO - The Utah County Commission in a unanimous vote, in today's commission meeting, approved a resolution to pursue legal action against manufacturers and distributors of opioids.
At least 12 states and a number of counties across the United States have begun legal action against manufacturers and distributors of opioids.
The issue was raised to national prominence when President Trump declared opioid use a National Public Health Emergency and called it a "national health crisis." Echoing national concern, Utah County Commission Chair Bill Lee said, "it is time to take the fight to those who have profited from these products."
In 2014, nearly 1 in 3 Utah adults (32%) were prescribed an opioid pain medication, Utah also ranked fourth highest in the United States for drug overdose deaths, with an average of six people dying per week as a result of overdosing on prescription opioids.
Richard Nance, Director, Utah County Substance Abuse, Prevention & Treatment discussed how prescription drugs are the gateway to heroin and that their impact on society extends to not only employers and families but county government as well. He said, "few departments in county government aren't directly impacted by opioid addiction and the costs associated with that addiction."
The resolution was amended to require that the Utah County Commission take further action on the resolution no later than December 31, 2017.
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