Humboldt County Files Lawsuit Against Distributors and Manufacturers of Opioids

Hydrocodone Opioids

[By Rotellam1 – via WikiCommons]

Press release from Humboldt County:

In the face of the worst man-made epidemic in modern medical history, known as the opioid crisis, the County of Humboldt this week filed a federal lawsuit against the largest manufacturers and primary distributors of prescription opioids in the United States.

The reckless promotion and distribution of potent opioids for chronic pain, while deliberately downplaying the significant risks of addiction and overdose, has led to unprecedented levels of opioid-related overdoses in Humboldt County, forever changing the lives of so many local families.

Opioid-related overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United State, surpassing even fatal car accidents. Since 2000, more than 300,000 people have died from opioid overdoses. Humboldt County has the second-highest fatal overdose rate in California, a rate that is five times the national average.

Prescription opioids are a class of powerful pain relievers, including oxycodone and hydrocodone. The chemical make-up of these prescription drugs is nearly identical to heroin.

Since 1995 when OxyContin was approved by the Food and Drug Administration and aggressively marketed to healthcare professionals, the sales of opioids has skyrocketed and pharmaceutical companies that manufacture these drugs have recorded massive profits. In Humboldt County opioid prescriptions outnumber people. In 2016 there were 156,444 opioid prescriptions, or more than 114 prescriptions per 100 residents.

As is true around the country, the rise in prescription opioids in Humboldt was followed closely by a dramatic rise in heroin use. Once patients can no longer obtain prescription opioids, many turn to heroin.

In years past, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office captured one or two pounds of heroin in a big year. In 2017 alone, the Sheriff’s Office confiscated 10 pounds and is well on pace to surpass that amount in 2018.

The complaint alleges that the defendants violated California’s Unfair Competition Law and the federal RICO statute, and that their conduct constitutes public nuisance, negligence, gross negligence, and unjust enrichment under California law.

Humboldt County retained Keller Rohrback as outside counsel on a contingency-fee basis. The law firm has already filed numerous opioid cases on behalf of public agencies in Washington, Idaho and Arizona. In addition, other municipalities around the country have filed more than 1,000 similar lawsuits seeking to hold manufacturers and distributors liable for the harms they have inflicted on communities.


Read the complaint



  • I thought we were giving them sanctuary.

  • doesn’t this directly contradict what Billy said in Idaho that weed is the source of the problem. maybe better coordination next time. I am pretty sure low income has already been determined to be the source.

    • This lawsuit will not work, they tried it with gun manufacturers saying they were responsibly for shooting deaths, the high court ruled that premise is invalid.

    • If you couuld only see that opiates are classless drugs, and have absolutley nothing to do with income levels, quality of life or the help we offer the addicted population. Just because you see homeless using, or do you?
      Doesnt mean the lawyer , cop , or judge, down the road from you hasnt fought , or isnt currently addicted to some form of opiate.
      How about we line you up a bed, shoot you full of morphine for week or two, make you pay for it, then kick you out with no aftercare. Have fun!

  • More victim society nonsense. Drug users CHOOSE to use. Blaming big pharma is the easy way out. How about, people STOP ABUSING DRUGS. The left is all about blame and lawsuits. We need to put blame where it belongs, on the USER. Ruining your own life is a CHOICE.

  • groba dude trustafarian osnt

    AND: Marijuana is the main gateway drug. One day you are smoking pot, the next day you are trying Heroin. Or going to the Doctor to get some Oxycodone.

    Drugs are for losers, and Pot is the most common first step towards the slippery slope.

    • You DO realize that theory has been BUSTED for YEARS don’t you???!!!!!

    • How are you able to post from the 1980’s?

      • groba dude trustafarian osnt

        Well, it’s certainly possible that YOU didn’t become a junkie! Honestly, everyone knows that only about 95% of all Marijuana Addicts eventually do other drugs and have risky sex with each other until they get Gonorrhea, Syphylis, AIDS and Chlamydia. Also, those damn potheads almost all turn into rapists and child molesters, and many of them murder other folks to get money so they can buy Cocaine, Methamphetamine, and Whippits for their reefer parties… Not to mention the Grey Goose and Corona and the Marlboros… Thus explains Humboldt County…

        Smoke dope today, shoot it up tomorrow! Guaranteed!

        Dopers never win, they just do more dope!

        • Everybody who is addicted to opium and beer started out breathing air. Air is the gateway drug. Air and water. And mother’s milk.

          • Taurusballzhoff

            Well, Zippy, your assertion is only slightly more absurd than Humboldt County suing Opioid manufacturers for causing drug addiction…

            • Taurusballzhoff

              Opioid manufacturers make billions off weak-minded people who think Doctors can prescribe “magic pills” that will cure their problems… I think the Opiate Manufacturers can afford to hire some badass lawyers to defend their products.

              And, since when has it become the fashionable thing to do, getting in between patients and Doctors? If you could see the documentation and massive time investment involved in Physicians prescribing Opioids, Benzodiazepines, and other schedule II and III drugs, you would ask yourself “why the heck would anyone want to practice medicine”?

              The huge waste of healthcare dollars involved in dealing with addicts and pain patients in the ER, and in Clinics everywhere, is the main reason that YOU can’t find a Doctor in the more remote areas, and the main reason that companies like Adventist Health and Sutter Health have invested big in operating in remote communities…

              Guess what else? Folks are looking to make big money by fighting the “Opioid Epidemic”. This isn’t really about saving you from yourself…

              Many, many physicians refuse to get involved with “pain management”, but many “specialists” have popped up to “treat sufferers”. It is quite an interesting phenomenon, and as American as Hot Dogs…

              AND, who else is making billions? Cannabis producers.

              Just wait until Cannabis becomes the focus of class-action suits, since Marijuana causes most common drug addiction…

              • Well, hell!! It worked for tobacco but I thought they would work on alcohol next as a proven poison. But if opioids are next, we will see if the lawsuits work. Every company that has ever produced a substance that can be abused, 1) has lied to us about its potential for abuse and 2) claims that individuals have to control it themselves. Same old bullshit, different day. I am sure someone out there still owns a Pinto and is driving an Explorer with Firestone tires. l wish you all the best.

        • Not insecure Dontblameothers

          This explains any town drugs are not ours exclusively sounds like you need new friends and to mosey on out of our great little town. You seem to know all about the heavier drug scene…hummmmmmm. sorry u had all those scary bad sex experiences. And dont know any pothead rapist, new friends is what you need or you like it.

      • Hmm you have me roof!

      • Love it!
        We do live in an 80s era with all these comments.

  • Good thing I don’t have health insurance.

    • I like stars too!

      Hmmm, I think Medi-Cal actually IS health insurance…

      • Connie is a Troll escaped from LoCO’s T-Dome, to make our lives miserable over here as well!!!

        • I’m responsible for your miserable life, now.

        • So says the biggest troll of this website LMFAO. Dan

          • All of you, Knock it off. I don’t have time for people insulting each other. I’m trying to actually enjoy my friends and family this weekend. If I have to, I’ll just start deleting everything that gets close to an insult. I need time with folks I love. I don’t want to spend it editing.

      • I’m too wealthy for Medi-Cal, and the monthly premium for the bronze plan is more than my mortgage and car payment combined. I just pay the fine for being poor every year. Nice country you’re running, here.

        • I like stars too!

          Just wait until you are on Medicare and Social Insecurity, if you think being poor sucks. I am planning to work until I just fall down dead…

          BTW, I have the “Aluminum Foil” plan!

          • When I need doctoring, I pay the doctor. I haven’t had $5k in medical expenses in a year yet, so I’m in the same sitch I’d be in if I paid premiums. Fun fact: most doctors charge cash patients less.

            • Taurusballzhoff

              Interesting how folks who have to pay for their own care consume very little!

              Most Physicians and medical facilities give a cash discount. Negotiate up front!

            • Me and my wife were talking about that the other day. I added up the premiums I would have spent if I had gotten health insurance at the age of 25, by now I would have spent over $70,000 in premiums alone, so far in that time span I’ve spent less than $4,000 at the hospital.

              • The idea isn’t that insurance pays off for everyone. It couldn’t and payout to shareholders. However, it is supposed to share the risk. So that when my kid has $90,000 bills for one fall or another person’s kid gets cancer, they have the wherewithal to deal. You’ve still got years left to wish you had insurance.

        • I didn’t think anyone was too wealthy for Medical anymore. Nor that once the tax credits were applied that Obamacare was that expensive, being capped at 10% of earnings at earning $50,000 per year. BTW you are equally “running the country” .

  • What a dumb misguided attempt to extort money from drug companies. No wonder we have such high costs for drugs & medical care. Whats next the insurance companies that pay for the drugs?

    Maybe we should take all these addicted victims & take them someplace & force them to give up the drugs!

    Stormy got it. “More victim society nonsense”

    When will this endless liberal insanity end?

    • Spot on. Why don’t the libs blame the FDA/GOVERNMENT who is “there to protect them” from harmful drugs.

  • Another example of a losing lawsuit filed to show the county is “doing something”. The dollars spent on this would be better spent for treatment & housing. Humboldt county supervisors are demonstrably the most inept in the state.

  • My Favorite Song

    Oxycoton by Lil Wyte

  • I’d love to see the Sackler family be shamed & go bankrupt. I’d also love to see the prestigious Universities which have named buildings after the Sackler family as a quid pro quo for the dirty donations from Oxyconyin profits feel compelled to pull those name plates down. Thirdly, I’d like to see a lawsuit against the FDA official who was bought off.


    It can’t happen. That would open the door for massive class-action suits. Millions of them. Jails are full of junkies that could likely show a prescription.

    Then the 215 Drs could get sued,too,when everyone has lung damage from years of “medical” weed.

  • How much will this cost the county Kim?

    • Don't Drink While Pregnant

      con·tin·gen·cy fee
      a sum of money that a lawyer receives as a fee only if the case is won.

  • Good luck with that!

  • Its about fucking time! I lived in humboldt all my life they gave me vics worked my way on up to methadone stungout on the streets,had to move a way to get strait,came back had to move again.I got ruffly 10 years clean. Fuck that county way to easy to lose it again there.sad depressing,doctors to eger to pass them out,even if they dont pills are on every street ,way to easy to I stay away,I stay clean,I stay alive to raise my kids & live out my live the right way! HAPPY!

  • Problem, reaction, $olution.

  • I’ve been taking Norco for over ten years and I’m not addicted I go to work everyday. I also get x-rays and MRIs on my back and see my doctor evey 2 months. People over use and the one that need it can hardly get it. I get 28 a month and I hear people getting 120 a month saying they’re in pain but aren’t in any pain.

  • If you BELIEVE smoking weed has anything to do with
    Opium you are as stupid as it gets
    I have been smoking for thirty plus years
    Never wrecked my car
    Never got a driving under influence
    Dont drink alcohol
    Dont do pills
    Dont smoke crack
    Dont slam heroine
    calm relaxed day

  • I like stars too!

    It takes real guts to stay clean and sober in an environment full of users. Hang in there, and do not feel that you are the only one who has dedicated their life to living without drugs, tobacco, alcohol.

    Sobriety takes the rest of your life. Own the beauty of your existence and keep moving forward!


      Yes,it can seem like you’re the only one around here. Vape pens in the gym,weed infused everything,breweries on every corner,sponsors are always booze/weed.
      Imagine being a child here.

    • I admit it tends to limit adolescent partying opportunities. But not enjoying companions who are actually interested in doing something. From auto racing through gardening to spinning wool, there are groups that form over common interests.

  • With the stats they have, shouldn’t the doctors be held accountable instead of the companies that are supplying a product? Supply and demand? If the doctors stopped prescribing, the manufacturers will reduce output of product. Just saying…………………..


      “….Once patients can no longer obtain prescription opioids, many turn to heroin.”

      They probably should be investigated. I have had local docs insist that I or my family leave the office with unwanted prescriptions.
      Even prescribed 100 ct vicodins for dental fillings,then offered refills. Geez. Didn’t use 1.

  • Damn big Pharma, they’re poisoning everybody with their damn opiates. Now make sure you go down to the clinic and get your yearly vaccinations, and if you want your kids to go to school, well they have to get 11 vaccinations and let’s not worry about the hundreds or thousands of pounds of opiates and methamphetamines coming across the southern border, because hey that would be racist. The hypocrisy stymies me, that’s why I switched from Democrat to independent..” walk away” oh shit, I just outed myself as a Russian troll. Lol

  • We all have a choice. Use it or don’t. Don’t place the blame where it doesn’t belong. Use everything in moderation.

  • I like stars too!

    Now, here is a real issue, a serious problem to go after:

    Millions of narcotic pills, which get sold on the street today, are there because sweet little old people visit Doctor after Doctor and get prescriptions, which they then fill, and, the pills are sold straight to the drug dealer on the corner, and then, sold to kids everywhere!

    Medicare pays for these doctor visits and also for the pills!

    Those sweet old people need the income from dealing their prescription drugs to pay their monthly Medicare Part B and D! Also their rent, and whatever…

    If cities want to sue someone, they should sue MEDICARE, for allowing this fraud to continue!

    The business of Medical Care, it’s a business! It is done to make money! Just like the business of filing lawsuits…

    Get over it, or work for serious change.

  • They need to STOP using the inaccurate ” fact” that there are more opiate prescriptions than people in the county. How opiate prescriptions work is that there are no refills are allowed. So each month each patient gets an entire new prescription. Also a person with chronic pain usually gets 2 pain prescriptions a month. One for a long acting opiate, one for a short acting one for breakthrough pain. So each person getting 2 new opiate prescriptions a month, times 12 months, is 24 new prescriptions a year. For each person. That’s why this ” fact” is useless, but no one cares or looks up the research, they just spout it off and keep going.

    The “War on Opioids” is getting so ridiculous that legitimate pain patients can’t even get proper pain meds. I have kidney cancer. Last Friday down at UCSF they took half of my right kidney and pieced it back together. I have a 10″ scar on my side. UCSF wanted me to have oxycodone for a few days for bad pain. But my home Dr. here will only give me a small amount of Vicodin 5 mg because of ” not wanting to get in trouble” in the public eye…so Cancer patients can’t get pain meds now after surgery, and it’s partially because of inaccurate or poorly researched “facts”. I hope none of the researchers or their families have to go thru cancer without meds, I really do…

    • One woman told me that at the Fortuna ER they wouldn’t help her mother with horrible pain, and actually told them that people go home and commit suicide after being refused pain meds. I told her to go to the local news station and do this story.

      • groba dude trustafarian osnt

        Redwood Hospital is not a good place for sick people. It is a good place to be pronounced dead!.

        Avoid Redwood Hospital like the plague! It’s nasty, understaffed, and owned by St Josephs of Orange, the Corporation fueled by Catholic greed!

        Redwood and St Josephs exploit and underpay their staff, and, force the people who work for them to convert to Catholicism before the employee can get a full-time benefited position. St Joseph’s discriminates against non-Catholics and older employees, and is well known to Gas-Light and Harass it’s employees. St Joes and Redwood Hospital both maintain unsafe workplaces, refuse to make improvements and terminate employees who file complaints.

        Please don’t use these hospitals if you can avoid them, and also, if you are a patient there, insist that you be treated safely and with respect.

  • A heritage of vices.
    Long ago, a tolerance of alcohol led to loggers, lumbermen, and fishermen rioting every weekend for blocks of Two Street.
    This led to a tolerance of a “harmless “ drug nicknamed pot.
    This led to a tolerance of pills
    This led to a tolerance of meth
    This led to a tolerance of heroin
    This led to a tolerance of opioids
    All because the money from this is good for the local economy
    All because the money is good for local business
    All because this love of money caused law enforcement to be neutered

    Now it’s the fault of corporations
    Now we can sue and put more money into the local economy
    Now we can sue and put more money into local business

    Doing the right thing has never been tried………….

    • Your entire gateway mentality has been proven to be a lie. If it was true then it started with breastmilk. Everything is dangerous and a gateway drug by your way of thought. Ever see a baby addicted to breastmilk not gets its fix, the baby cries like a baby……… Get real! 🤣😆😅

  • If big Pharma with their opioids don’t get ya, the military will make sure you get heroine from Afghanistan, because all these illegal immoral wars result in domestic poverty, illness and despair, but war is just too important to the economy (of the rich).

  • I for one am glad to see this. After all the people that abuse opioids and shoot heroin are not responsible especially since they have no money. No the pharmaceutical companies that make the pain killer are responsible for people getting illegal heroin that is not allowed in the US (schedule 1 drug) and lets put them out of business or better yet cut into their profits so that they have to raise prices on medications to stay in business. This is the best Idea yet spending tax dollars on this lawsuit. A well thought vout non political move on the part of the county. After all I am sure several lawyers will get rich off this goat screw of a lawsuit.

  • Thinking the problem here and in the whole state is bad governance for decades, higher taxes, higher rents, more yearly fees and less freedoms, basically an erosion of freedoms and liberty. Take away man’s hope and dreams man has no hope and dreams. Alcohol and other drugs tend to be an escape when a person is stressed out about something, over time continuing a downward spiral. I feel that if our current governance continues our society will unravel.

  • So the county is investing the canna permit money in a law suit to make more money?
    If this backfires who picks up the tab?

  • I heard about this on BBC .Oxy was marketed as a safe non addictive alternative. Abuse is a patients error. The high kick back to pharms and doctors is business. Recently it surfaced that studies showing it is highly addictive was withheld deemed it negligent. This carrys to the the manufacturer..funding..FDA and other dark reaches by association.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *