Schenectady County files lawsuit against drug manufacturers

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Schenectady County has filed a lawsuit alleging that opiate drug manufacturers deliberately and falsely advertised their opiate pills to deceive doctors into prescribing them to patients.

Many say their addictions began with one prescription from a doctor for opiates for pain.

“Definitely went downhill real quick. I’ve been in and out of jail and rehabs,” Nicole Ranieri said. “I’m officially trying to get my life together because of this one little pill I wanted to pop 12 years ago.”

One little pill with a powerful punch prescribed to Ranieri when she was injured. It changed her life forever and is now has a lifelong battle with addiction.

“I hurt my back probably when I was like 18. I was out of work for a little bit and the only way for me to get up and actually feel better and go back to work was to take this pill. It got to the point where I didn’t want to take it I needed to take it.”

She says she needed it because she became physically dependent on the drug like many do.

“Take it as prescribed and you know really be careful because you know it becomes a physical addiction,” Matthew Flandrau, of Schenectady, said.

Flandrau’s addiction also began with pain pills, and turned to an illegal drug he says was cheaper and easier to get

“Unfortunately heroin did come into play and you know right now I’m back in recovery trying to do the right thing.”

Could a lawsuit filed by Schenectady County today help the opiate epidemic? Officials say opiate addiction costs county tax payers and millions and millions of dollars each year.

The lawsuit filed against opiate manufacturers claims they aggressively and falsely advertised their opiates to doctors.

“It was marketed to them in a very sophisticated fashion that changes in the way the drugs were formulated made it safe and that any addictive issues were dealt with reformulations,” Schenectady County Attorney Chris Gardner said.

Recovering addict James DeSantis is now clean and hoping to make a difference too.

“Like Breaking Barriers Advocacy group, if a family reaches out to us, we sit with them and we talk about it and we say look this is what has to happen,” DeSantis said.

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