Reality Check: Baldwin Opioid Suit vs. Big Pharma
BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WPMI) —
As the opioid epidemic continues to rage, we're learning more about the progress of a lawsuit officials in Baldwin County plan to file against several major drug distributors.
Today County Commissioners and the Sheriff both point to big losses to county taxpayers and the need to move quickly to stop the flow of opioids.
The lawsuit which has not been filed yet targets more than one manufacturer or distributor.
Attorneys are still compiling just how much the losses are to the county.
The opioid epidemic is hitting the county where it hurts. " You've got millions of dollars easily identifiable but that formula will be argued in federal court by our legal team," said County Commissioner Chris Elliott.
Elliott along with the County Sheriff Huey Mack Jr. pointed to more and more inmates coming into the county jail addicted to opioids and then needing costly treatments for ER visits and hospital stays, all at the county tax payer's expense.
"We're booking in, booking out thousands of people in our county jail every year
But what we've started to see is that those individuals are up and its up somewhere in the neighborhood of a 10 to a 15 % range right now, " said Mack.
The county's lawsuit will target distributors and manufacturers who county officials say - push the drugs to be sold where the drugs are already overprescribed.
Kristy wells is a recovery advocate and a recovering pain pill addict herself. "They are losing because there's not a grand plan which is part of the problem," said Wells.
The plan to crack down on the source is a good move, she says, but after that and after shutting down the "pill mill" doctors addicts can easily be forgotten.
"You have thousands of people who are addicts then their doctors are suddenly just gone and they are in withdrawal immediately," said Wells.
County officials say the federal lawsuit will focus on distributors who they say have failed to report suspicious shipments to doctors and pharmacies, something distributors are required to do by federal law.
County attorneys are working on all the numbers right now. The lawsuit is expected to be filed in federal court by the end of the month.