U.S.

Kentucky sues Kroger for 'fueling deadly opioid crisis'

The lawsuit claims Kroger "flooded" Kentucky with opioid pills that caused addiction and death.

A Kroger sign on a store.
Rogelio V. Solis/AP
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Kentucky's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the Kroger Company, alleging it contributed to the opioid crisis in the state. 

The lawsuit claims Kroger "flooded" Kentucky with opioid pills that caused addiction and death. 

 â€śKroger, which families have trusted for so long, knowingly made these dangerous and highly addictive substances all too accessible," Attorney General Russell Coleman said. 

Kentucky is losing about 2,000 people a year to opioid overdoses, according to its most recent overdose fatality report

Russell blames Kroger for distributing nearly 200 million hydrocodone pills to its Kentucky pharmacies between 2006 and 2019 without implementing an "effective monitoring program to stop suspicious opioid orders."

Teen opioid overdoses surge but access to addiction treatment limited
Teen opioid overdoses surge but access to addiction treatment limited

Teen opioid overdoses surge but access to addiction treatment limited

A study found there is limited access to residential addiction treatment centers for those who are under the age of 18.

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"Kroger never created a formal system, a training or even a set of guidelines to report suspicious activity or abuse," Coleman said. 

Coleman claims Kroger did not report a single suspicious prescription to the state between 2007 and 2014.

In addition to deaths, the lawsuit talks about the other harms people in Kentucky are dealing with because of the opioid crisis. It says the state's workforce has been impacted as employers have had a harder time finding and keeping workers. 

"The scourge of addiction that has plowed through graduating classes, work forces and entire families is the devastating result," Coleman said. 

Kentucky is seeking monetary damages and civil penalties that limit how Kroger does business in the future. 

Scripps News has reached out to Kroger for a response to the lawsuit but has not heard back.