County studying opioid crisis cost to El Paso taxpayers

EL PASO, Texas - El Paso County is taking a closer look at the impact of the nation's escalating opioid crisis on local taxpayers.

County commissioners on Monday received a presentation from a Houston law firm currently representing cities, counties and other municipalities across the U.S. that are now suing drugmakers.

As KTSM reported, a group of pharmaceutical companies is accused of misrepresenting the risk of opioid pain medications.

The plaintiffs contend the epidemic is putting a strain on local governments though increased costs associated with emergency room visits at county hospitals, child protective services cases, and jail and courtroom costs.

"It could affect our hospital district, our sheriff's department, you name it," said County Judge Ruben Vogt. "It could impact the county and the taxpayers, which is a reason why we should be concerned."

The county judge said El Paso is in the early stages of putting a dollar amount to the impact opioids are having locally. Vogt said whether the county joins any litigation remains to be seen.

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