Sedgwick County could file lawsuit over opioids

Commissioners pass nuisance resolution

Sedgwick County commissioners have approved a resolution that declares the opioid epidemic as a public nuisance.  That sets the stage for a possible lawsuit in the future against opioid distributors.

Assistant county counselor Michael Fessinger told commissioners Wednesday that the lawsuit would be intended to recover the costs of county services used to deal with the opioid crisis.   That would involve costs of law enforcement, increased medical care, counseling, and other services. 

Wichita attorney Mike Fuller is working with the county on the issue, and he said he has been talking with the state attorney general's office and other counties about possibly working together on a lawsuit.   County counselor Eric Yost said he has also talked with attorney general Derek Schmidt about working together in a partnership on the issue. 

Commissioners voted 4-1 for the resolution.  Richard Ranzau voted no, saying he has not seen enough evidence to determine if the distributors are responsible for the harm caused to the community by opioid use. 

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