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MUNSTER — Lake County joined the city of Hammond and dozens of other municipalities across the nation Friday in suing opioid manufacturers and distributors for their alleged role in the opioid addiction crisis.

The lawsuit alleges the manufacturing companies used deceptive marketing practices to promote opioid medications beyond their effective short term use. The distributing companies allegedly failed to identify, report and stop suspicious orders of these medications.

The alleged negligence and misinformation resulted in “blockbuster profits” for the opioid companies, with $8 billion in revenues generated in 2012 alone, the lawsuit states.

The county seeks unspecified damages from the companies on allegations of racketeering, public nuisance, negligence, unjust enrichment and civil conspiracy.

The county seeks compensation for past and future costs “to abate the ongoing public nuisance caused by the opioid epidemic,” as well as unspecified damages and attorneys' fees.

The allegations in the county's lawsuit are similar to those made by Hammond in its Nov. 16 lawsuit. Both municipalities are represented by Cohen & Malad LLP, a law firm based in Indianapolis.

The Lake County Board of Commissioners signed an agreement with the law firm last month to file the lawsuit on its behalf.

The city's lawsuit was consolidated with dozens of other similar lawsuits Dec. 5 in the U.S. District Court of Northern Ohio.

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.