Appalachian Leaders Sue Oxycontin Makers

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Prescription pills hurt their people, tarnished their reputation and purged their coffers. Now Kentucky officials want payback.

Kentucky leaders in the drug-ridden mountains of Appalachia have filed a lawsuit seeking class-action status today against Purdue Pharma. The Connecticut-based company is the manufacturer of OxyContin.

Lead counsel in the suit, private attorney Gary Johnson says it's war.

OxyContin has been blamed for hundreds of deaths across the country in recent years. The drug has been called "hillbilly heroin" in Appalachian states like Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

Kentucky officials decided to pursue the lawsuit after the drug maker and three of its current or former executives pleaded guilty this year to misleading the public about the drug's risk of addiction.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)