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Hillsborough County Suing Opioid Manufacturers

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Hillsborough County is filing a lawsuit against drug companies that contributed to the opioid addiction crisis.

County officials said more babies are born addicted to these drugs there than any other county in Florida and drug makers are to blame.

The number of babies born physically dependent on drugs is on the rise in Florida and around the nation.  The condition, called  neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs in newborns who were exposed to addictive opiate drugs like heroin, methadone and oxycodone in utero. 

The lawsuit accuses certain drug manufacturers of contributing to the crisis by aggressively marketing the painkillers, overstating their benefits in treating chronic pain and downplaying their dangers.

The lawsuit argues that the manufacturers must address the damages their actions caused. Data from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration shows that more than 4,000 babies delivered in Florida in 2016 were born addicted to drugs.

A coalition of medical, law enforcement, and justice system leaders will be speaking more about the lawsuit Tuesday at an event at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office jail on Falkenburg Road.

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Daylina Miller is a multimedia reporter for WUSF and Health News Florida, covering health in the Tampa Bay area and across the state.
Daylina Miller
Daylina Miller, multimedia reporter for Health News Florida, was hired to help further expand health coverage statewide.