Niagara County lawmakers recently took a major step forward, passing legislation through committee to declare opioids a public nuisance. The move is the group's next step in a multi-county lawsuit against several drug companies for their role in the opioid crisis. Lawmakers say manufacturers are marketing painkillers to physicians without disclosing their full impact.
To help combat the issue of addiction, Niagara County formed a task force called OASIS. In 2016, the county had the highest number of babies born in the state addicted to opioids, coupled with 31 fatal overdoses last year and more than 300 non-fatal calls for help.
The legislation has successfully passed through all committees and will hit the full legislature next month.
"This is a monumental step for legislators to take. Unanimously bi-partisan support on this, to really help our community and the people that live in Niagara County," said Randy Bradt, (R) Niagara County Legislature majority leader.
"Help us to recover costs if there is a settlement, or an outcome that's in our favor. we need this local law to be in effect so we can then recover those damages and put them back toward helping our community," said Rebecca Wydysh, (R) Niagara County Legislature - 2nd District.
A public hearing is expected to take place March 20, prior to the vote.