MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - They're calling it an "Opioid Epidemic."
From brand names like Oxycontin or Vicodin, several pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma and Abbott Laboratories are getting sued by several states, even counties in Texas.
Upshur County in East Texas has filed a lawsuit, with claims that the companies are downplaying the dangers of opioids in their marketing tactics. A problem they say is what's leading to opioid addiction in the US.
At least six other Texas counties are expected to follow suit, but not Midland County. County officials said it's not within their discretion to file a lawsuit against a company, when the problem doesn't fall on them, but actually, the user.
"I think it's foolish. Why are you going after a pharmaceutical company? They just make the stuff. Again, it falls back on the person. It's the people that are abusing it," said Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter. "The drug is for a good reason and for people in dire need of it. It's an answer to a prayer. People abuse it. When you abuse it, you'll have people die, hooked on it and can't get off of it. It's a hard situation."
Both Ector and Midland County say there hasn't been a problem with opioid usage anyway. Since the drugs that are mostly abused in both counties are either meth, marijuana and cocaine.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is investigating the industry with other attorneys general to serve subpoenas on eight pharmaceutical companies. Paxton says the investigation will help them determine the appropriate course of action to take.