Several Chicago collar counties are filing lawsuits against some of the country's biggest pharmaceutical companies for contributing to the opioid crisis.
Officials from DuPage, Kane, McHenry, Lake and Will Counties said Thursday they are seeking millions of dollars in damages.
McHenry County State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally said the effects of the opioid crisis have been devastating for his county, both in human terms and financially.
He says the companies poured money into generating articles, classes and other means to promote their products.
"All of which were successful," he said, "in putting into the minds of physicians that, 'Hey, these new type[s] of derivatives of morphine - Oxycontin, Hydrocodone - are not addictive.'"
Kenneally said the companies must be held accountable for that.
"Through the deceptive practices of these companies," he said, "doctors became comfortable prescribing these things. There was a flood of prescriptions throughout the United States, and that has been a really large part of the opioid epidemic that we're facing right now."
The suits include names like Purdue, Abbott, and Johnson & Johnson. Several doctors were also named.
Kenneally said any money received through the lawsuits would go toward programs to help those affected and to help prevent others from becoming victims of the crisis.
Kenneally acknowledges that despite having what he calls a strong case, the money may be a long time coming. Other lawsuits of this kind have taken years, even decades, to resolve.
The list of those named in the lawsuits includes: Purdue Pharma L.P.; Purdue Pharma Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company Inc.; Abbott Laboratories; Abbott Laboratories Inc.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.; Cephalon Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Dr. Perry Fine; Dr. Scott Fishman and Dr. Lynn Webster.