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Opioid lawsuits

OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Riverton has joined a nationwide lawsuit against 24 pharmaceutical companies.

RIVERTON (WNE) — The City of Riverton has joined a nationwide, multi-district lawsuit against 24 pharmaceutical companies, including Walgreen Co. and Walmart Inc., to seek damages caused by what the suit describes as “the opioid epidemic.”

In a 200-page complaint the city filed through its attorney, Jason Ochs of Jackson, the opioid epidemic is deemed “the worst man-made epidemic in modern medical history” which encourages “the misuse, abuse and overprescription of opioids.”

Riverton-born personal injury attorney Jeremy Hugus, who works in Casper, has been close to the case from the start. He was the first to approach the Riverton City Council about the subject. In an interview with The Ranger, Hugus said the infrastructural toll of the opioid epidemic is about $900 per citizen on average, in any given community.

“Fremont County is the third-hardest-hit county in Wyoming,” said Hugus, “so the average there is probably higher than $900. The costs are substantial.”

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There are thousands of U.S. cities and counties joining the lawsuit, which Hugus said should serve as a wake-up call to the manufacturers, the doctors, and the pharmacies embracing the prescription opioid movement as a marketplace.

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