McLennan County prepares to sue opioid distributors

Posted at 3:41 PM, Oct 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-31 16:52:45-04

McLennan County has authorized a lawsuit against opioid distributors in wake of the national crisis.

Commissioners of the county took the first step by retaining the law firms of Haley & Olson, P.C. and Harrison Davis Steakly Morrison Jones, P.C. to represent them in the case.

The county is holding the country’s largest manufacturers and wholesale distributors of opioids accountable for breaching their legal duties to monitor, detect, investigate, refuse and report suspicious orders of prescription opioids.

They say their lack of concern for the consumers of these highly addictive, dangerous opioids put profits over people.

Health care providers wrote more than 289 million prescriptions for opioids in 2014 - that is enough for every adult in the United States to have more than one bottle of pills.

Although the companies have no control over how people manage their consumption of the pills, the county aspires to hold them responsible for fueling the opioid crisis.

In 2014, almost 2 million Americans abused or were addicted to opioids.

That same year, two-thirds of drug overdoses, which are the leading cause of death under the age of 50, involved opioids.

The economic impact opioid abuse has had on the U.S. including lost productivity and increased social services, healthcare insurance costs, increased criminal justice presence in strain on judicial resources, substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation is estimated to be about $78.5 billion.

“It is now well-established that we have an opioid epidemic in this country. Everyone has friends or family that have been impacted by opioid addiction. The commissioners want to be leaders in this fight against an epidemic that has affected McLennan County citizens of all races and socio-economic groups. Simply put, opioid addiction and the corresponding effects of opioid addiction do not discriminate. We want to help put a stop to this and recoup taxpayer dollars that have been expanded in numerous ways to combat this epidemic. We believe Haley & Olson, P.C. and Harrison Davis Steakley Morrison Jones, P.C. are the right law firms for the job,” said McLennan County Judge Scott Felton. 

Copyright 2017 KXXV. All rights reserved.