Vilas County committee denies joining major opioid lawsuit with 5-1 vote Submitted: 01/16/2018
Story By Allie Herrera

Vilas County committee denies joining major opioid lawsuit with 5-1 vote
VILAS COUNTY - All but 11 counties in Wisconsin filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies for contributing to the opioid crisis.

The lawsuit says certain companies use "deceptive marking" and have "created a false perception of the safety of opioids."

Vilas County is one of the 11 that hasn't joined yet. 

"It's unforgivable that we don't go after this. We need to stop this and yes, it's personal," said Bob Hanson. 

Years ago, Hanson served as a medic in Vietnam. He was told a pain drug called Demerol was safe and not habit forming. Hanson quickly learned that wasn't the case. 

"We sent them home with addiction problems," said Hanson. 

Hanson is now a Vilas County Board supervisor pushing to join the lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies. Last week, the county executive and legislative committee denied a proposal to join the lawsuit, which 85 percent of Wisconsin counties are currently a part of. 
"What I would like to see is that there is some resolution and some progress being made in stopping this opioid crisis that we have," said supervisor Walt Maciag, who voted against the lawsuit. 

The committee voted 5-1 against joining the lawsuit.

Supervisor Carolyn Ritter voted in favor of joining, she says there's an opioid crisis in Vilas County. 

"We have certainly seen the cost of it within the county budget both with law enforcement and with social services," said Ritter. 

Maciag said the resolution didn't have specific information, therefore, he felt like he couldn't make a decision. 

"Who we're going to sue and why we're going to sue them really wasn't specified," said Maciag.
Maciag thinks dealing with the users first would be more effective. 

"I would like to see our educational institutions have yearly programs at all grades to try to dissuade people from use," said Maciag. 

Maciag says he isn't against revisiting the resolution, but he wants more specific information.
Hanson says those questions can be answered, but he wants the county to join the fight as soon as possible. 

"There's no reason for us to be dragging our feet on this. We need to get moving on it," said Hanson. 

Newswatch 12 also spoke with Krista Baisch, a lawyer at Crueger Dickinson LLC, who said the goal of this lawsuit is to do something. She said it's important for cities and counties, regardless of size, to join in on this lawsuit. Baisch also said she hopes Vilas County reconsiders their decision.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


WAUSAU - Police may recommend charges against a woman who babysat a two-month-old boy who died in Wausau last week.

Officers arrested Marissa M. Tietsort, 28, at The Plaza Hotel early Friday morning for a valid warrant on a separate case.

According to the Wausau Police Department, the boy's mother picked up the two-month-old from Tietsort's home on Thursday night and brought him to an area laundromat.  The mother noticed the baby was unresponsive when she tried to take him out of a car seat at the laundromat and called police.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - You might think bars overflowed with Brewers fans for Saturday's game.

But that wasn't case for some local bars.

Big Daddy's owner Aaron Schultz said the game didn't bring out the crowd like he expected.

"I had higher hopes of people coming out to support the Brewers down at Big Daddy's, but that didn't happen," said owner Schultz.

+ Read More

Play Video

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - The Minocqua music artist Tommy Organiscak has always been naturally drawn to music since a very young age.

"I sang ever since I was little kid," said Organiscak. "I was lucky enough to have this instrument: [my voice]. I mean I was born with it."

He entertained for guests as a young teen at his parents resort in the Willow Flowage.

"They used to call me 'Elvaraotti' because I sang everything from Elvis to Pavarotti," said Organiscak.

He later went on to UW-Stevens Point to study the art of music.

+ Read More

MARQUETTE - A man has died after his duck-hunting boat capsized in high winds on the Fox River.

+ Read More

Play Video

MINOCQUA -  A group of boys took time away from homework Sunday to raise money for their hockey team. 

+ Read More

MADISON - A report says Wisconsin is seeing a shortage of psychiatrists, with 20 of the state's 72 counties lacking a practicing psychiatrist.

+ Read More

MONROE - Human remains were found in the Town of Monroe Saturday afternoon. 

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here