By Karen Morfitt

HUERFANO COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A small southern Colorado county is the first in the state to take on some of the country’s major pharmaceutical companies.

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(credit: CBS)

Huerfano County filed suit on behalf of its 6,400 residents, naming 12 drug companies and claiming they are largely responsible for the opioid addiction impact affecting their community.

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The lawsuit claims the deceptive marketing and distribution scheme of companies like Purdue and Mckesson led to a public health crisis, one that has hit especially hard in southern Colorado.

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(credit: CBS)

In a recent report by the Washington Post and 60 minutes, DEA investigators say Mckesson, which distributes out of Aurora, was sending the same quantities of opioid pills to small-town pharmacies in Colorado’s San Luis Valley as it would typically ship to large drugstores next to big city medical centers.

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(credit: CBS)

Retired DEA investigator and former supervisor Helen Kaupang told 60 minutes, “McKesson is supplying enough pills to that community to give every man woman and child a monthly dose of 30 to 60 tablets,”

The suit aims to hold those drug companies responsible for the fallout; tax dollars already spent on addiction treatment, emergency response and law enforcement as well as any future costs they might endure.

Huerfano joins a number of other counties across the country suing the opioid industry that is in addition to the 41 State Attorneys General including Colorado who are also suing.

Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.

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