As the opioid crisis rages on, more than 80 school districts in 16 states are suing opioid manufactures and distributors like Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson, says Education Week. The lawsuits aim to get these companies to help pay for the costs of education and supporting children affected by the opioid crisis. In court filings, lawyers have said that they believe that nationwide, school districts have spent at least $127 billion on services to address the opioid crisis. According to district leaders, they’ve seen an increase in students with disabilities brought on by their mothers’ opioid use during pregnancy. They’ve also seen an increase in students with behavioral and attendance issues who have experienced family trauma due to having relatives who were addicted to drugs or arrested for possession.
A class-action lawsuit filed last December in the Northern District of Ohio included numerous districts in Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, and West Virginia, along with a handful each in California, Indiana, Louisiana, New York and Texas. In a database from Education Week, made up of every school district involved in a lawsuit against opioid manufactures and distributors, 86 districts are mentioned.