Cook County files lawsuit against opioid manufacturers

CHICAGO (AP) — Cook County officials have filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies over opioid painkillers.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx filed the lawsuit Wednesday against several opioid manufacturers. Cook County officials cited aggressive marketing of opioids that resulted in a rise in overdose and fatality rates.

The county is seeking compensatory and punitive damages to cover opioid treatment programs, costs to treat overdose patients and an increase in autopsies.

County data show there were about 650 opioid deaths in 2015, rising 70 percent to more than 1,090 in 2016. There have been about 850 deaths in 2017 as of the beginning of December.

Similar lawsuits have been filed around the U.S. and companies being sued have said they’re already taking steps to curb opioid abuse.