- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The Kanawha County Commission is considering seeking damages from opioid wholesalers, who they say helped to fuel the area’s drug epidemic by shipping millions of painkillers to the county.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports (https://bit.ly/2iU5tGg) that commissioners on Thursday hired a law firm to represent them in a potential lawsuit against the wholesalers.

The lawsuits would address the economic effects the opioid epidemic has had on the county. Commission President Kent Carper says the county jail bill is about $4.5 million each year, and that millions of dollars are spent on other costs related to the opioid epidemic.

Attorney Paul Farrell says if counties are able to punish wholesalers monetarily, they may stop conducting business in West Virginia.

A Gazette-Mail investigation found wholesalers poured more than 780 million opioid pills into the state over six years.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, https://wvgazettemail.com.

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