By the end of the year, Paul Hanly Jr. predicts he will have sued pharmaceutical companies in more than half of New York’s 62 counties, alleging the drug manufacturers deceptively marketed opioid painkillers such as OxyContin and Percocet.

Hanly, a shareholder in the New York office of national firm Simmons Hanly Conroy , is part of a growing wave of plaintiffs lawyers who are bringing cases against major pharmaceutical companies at a time when the country is grappling with what many health officials call a crisis of addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin, which has been linked to opioid abuse by the federal government. While these lawsuits have been around for a while—Kentucky filed one back in 2007 that settled for $24 million in 2015—there has been a significant uptick in filings in the past several months.

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