Cass County to file suit against opioid manufacturers and suppliers
The Cass County Commissioner’s Court approved a resolution of bringing suit on behalf of Cass County against the manufacturers, developers, suppliers and others of the class of drugs referred to as opiods at the regular meeting of the court on Nov. 28.
“I just wanted to mention that according this agreement Cass County will not be out any money regardless in whether we win or there is a monetary award through the courts the law firm will take the money out of the award there will not be any money out of the county’s pocket for this,” said Commissioner of Precinct 2 Jon Borseth.
Attorney Jack Walker from the law firm Martin Walker out of Tyler, Texas spoke to the court of Nov. 14 about the possibility of filing suit against the manufacturers, suppliers and others of a class of drugs referred to as opiods.
Walker spoke about the opiod epidemic and how it has affected the United States and the counties in Texas.
“Opiods is a class of drug that includes common drugs such as vicatin, hydrocodone, fentanyl, oxycontin and that sort of thing,” said Walker
“We have an opiod epidemic in the United States, President Trump announced the crisis about a month ago but the crisis has been building for about ten years,” said Walker.
“Opiods have been around for years and years and years since about the 1940’s and 1950’s but beginning the in the early 90’s the face of the opiods changed because of the manufactures and distributiors and it was a calculated plan to sell this types of drugs,” said Walker.
“What happened is that the manufacturers and distributors went to the medical community to campaign to convince the medical community and doctors that these drugs were safe for chronic pain use,” said Walker.
Walker explained what the opiod drugs were approved for and for what type of use.
“The FDA originally approved these drugs for acute pain for less than 90 days and also for the terminally ill,” said Walker.
“The reason that these drugs were only approved for this use and this reason only, is because they are highly addictive and they hijack the pleasure center of the brain.”
“The statistics show that if you are given a prescription of opiods for more than 90 days, that you have a 40 percent chance of abusing and about a 25 to 30 percent chance of becoming addicted.”
“We currently have about two million people in the United States that are addicted to opiods and about 12 million who are abusing and when I say abusing I mean using them in excess of the prescribed amount, “said Walker.
“Deaths have increased dramatically (from the use of opiods) in 2013 there were 33,000 deaths from opiod abuse and as of three weeks ago the death count is over 300,000 ,” said Walker.
“The counties have an opportunity to recover the cost of the opiod addiction and the cost that you have are several classes but it includes healthcare cost, treatment for addiction, criminal justice cost for investigation, arrest and prosecution,” said Walker.
“We are currently representing about 20 counties and we have about 8 to 9 that we are working with here in East Texas currently to get retention agreements,” said Walker.
“This is not a class action lawsuit this is an individual lawsuit for Cass County against the manufacturers and distributors of the drugs, we will bring separate lawsuits for every county that we represent,” said Walker.