Towns County joins lawsuit against opioid industry

Drugs Towns County GA

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County has joined in a class-action lawsuit filed against the pharmaceutical industry, holding manufacturers responsible for fostering the opioid epidemic that is prevalent throughout the United States. The lawsuit was initiated by a northern Ohio district, and numerous Georgia counties are proceeding toward pending litigation in order to recover financial expenditures.

The lawsuit seeks punitive and compensatory damages for the costs incurred from the opioid epidemic. The expenses include, but are not limited to, the costs associated with law enforcement, prosecution, healthcare, and substance abuse programs that are components in addressing the crisis.

In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical representatives assured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began prescribing them at greater rates, amid a growing concern that pain was not being properly treated. Pharmaceutical representatives aggressively marketed the drugs, claiming that they posed a slight risk of misuse.

The increased disbursement of opioids lead to widespread abuse before it became evident that the medication was highly addictive. Patients who are prescribed the medication for legitimate pain relief often unwittingly find themselves trapped in the torment of addiction.

Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw, a proponent of the lawsuit, turned the matter over to Towns County Attorney Robb Kiker.

Towns County attorney

Towns County Attorney Robb Kiker

Attorney Kiker stated that after interviewing five law firms, he recommends Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, located in Athens, Georgia, to oversee the case.

Both Bradshaw and Kiker confirmed that Towns County will not invest nor incur any expenses for legal services if the lawsuit is not successful.

“My main concern is not to take a risk with the taxpayers’ money. I just will never do that. No risk at all,” Commissioner Bradshaw assured. “The only thing we have is to gain. We may not gain anything, but we stand a chance to gain something.”

“These pharmaceutical companies, they have went overboard with this, way overboard,” Bradshaw added.

According to statistics provided by the county attorney, 111 opioid prescriptions per 100 residents were dispensed in Towns County during 2016, the period that the last study was conducted. While all of Towns County citizens are clearly not opioid users, it is indicative of the magnitude of the crippling crisis.

“The crisis in the United States is that opioid abuse is the leading cause of death for people under age 50,” Kiker said. “For the first time in 75 years, the life expectancy for people in the United States declined in 2015 and 2016, and it’s directly attributed to opioid abuse.”

FetchYourNews intends to follow developments as the lawsuit proceeds through the court.

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