The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners announced last week the county will join a number of others in the state in a lawsuit against distributors and manufacturers of opioid painkillers.

The Watauga Democrat reports Caldwell joins Wilkes Yadkin, Buncombe, New Hanover and others in the suit filed in US District Court Western District in Statesville.

According to the report, Watauga County Manager Deron Geouque said the possibility of Watauga joining in the lawsuit and possible direction the county might take will be discussed at the Commissioners March 20 meeting.

Garry Whitaker, one of the attorneys representing Caldwell County said Caldwell is taking this action because of the county's recurring costs related to opioid abuse, ranging from law enforcement, child protective services, EMS, the health and mental health departments, the jail and others.

Opioids are the most prescribed class of drugs in the country with sales over $8 billion a year since 2009.