At least two North Dakota counties are considering filing lawsuits against the manufacturers of opioids.
The state of North Dakota has already filed suit in state court. Private law firms have approached both the Cass County and Burleigh County Commissions to file suit in federal court, which would likely be combined in a suit now pending.
Cass County State’s Attorney Birch Burdick said the Cass County Commission is now considering its options. Burdick said he will be checking with the Burleigh County Commission, the city of Fargo and other subdivisions to help the Cass commissioners determine the best way to go.
"The Commissioners want to do the best thing they can for their constituents," Burdick said. "They want to make sure that if there is a recovery there, it can apply towards treatment for Cass County residents."
Burdick said Cass County commissioners are convinced they need to do something.
"Addiction issues are not bested and defeated by throwing pople in jail, but rather by trying to treat them in some way," Burdick said. "The court system is useful for getting people into treatment and stay in treatment, but in the end, the answer is teatment, not punishment."
The Cass County Commission doesn't have a deadline. The Burleigh County Commission hopes to make a decision next month.