Kentucky public school districts sue company for damage caused by opioid crisis

Published: May. 6, 2021 at 11:47 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky public school districts are the latest to jump on board to recover funds caused by the opioid epidemic.

Attorney Ron Johnson, a partner in the law firm of Hendy Johnson Vaughn Emery in Louisville, is representing the state’s public school districts, one of the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.

Jefferson County Public Schools passed a resolution in October authorizing litigation to compensate for damages caused by opioids.

“On its face, it’s just absurd for the manufacturers, or the distributors, or anyone else involved in the process, to claim they weren’t doing anything wrong when they were selling enough opioid pills in a small town in Kentucky for the entire state of New York,” Johnson said.

From 2009 to 2012, about 1.9 billion doses of oxycodone and hydrocodone were dumped in Kentucky. Now, years later, Johnson said the state’s most vulnerable have become victims.

“When women are addicted to opioids and then give birth, they have babies that are addicted to opioids,” Johnson explained.

Johnson said from 2015 to 2019, there were 25 babies being born out of every 1,000 in the state addicted to opioids.

“Well, when these babies are born like that, they suffer cognitive deficits,” Johnson added. “When they become school age and if you think back, this occurring from 2015 to 2019, these children are anywhere from three, four, five, or six years old. They’re now in preschool, kindergarten, first grade into second grade, and they have learning disabilities.”

These learning disabilities caused by opioids are putting pressure on schools. Johnson is hoping a recently filed lawsuit will recover money and give aid to the funding challenge needed to help students with special needs.

Public school districts have sued McKinsey & Company, Inc., a management consulting company. The complaint was filed in federal district court in Louisville charging McKinsey with racketeering and conspiracy. Johnson said the company created and implemented a plan that caused millions of Americans to become addicted to opioids.

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