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SF County moves toward suit against opioid makers

SANTA FE, N.M. — The Santa Fe County Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that calls for the county to join other local and state governments in taking legal action against the manufacturers and distributors of drugs that have contributed to the nation’s opiate epidemic.

Commissioner Anna Hansen said the issue is a serious problem all over the nation, but particularly in northern New Mexico. She said she would like to see the county partner with the city of Santa Fe and other counties in litigation, and that she and other commissioners had been contacted by attorneys willing to represent the county.

County Manager Katherine Miller said selecting legal counsel to represent the county on the issue would be done through a Request for Proposals process.

More than 40 states, including New Mexico, have already filed lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies or distributors they allege are responsible for the opioid epidemic.

More County in northern New Mexico sued numerous mayor pharmaceutical companies in August, accusing them of knowingly over-distributing addictive drugs.

Santa Fe County’s resolution notes that state Health Department statistics show that 178 people in Santa Fe County died from drug overdoses from 2012 to 2015, and that nearly three times as many county residents (68) died from overdoses in 2016 than were killed in automobile accidents (23).