Macon-Bibb County to sue drug companies that make, sell opioids
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb County is filing a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies that make and distribute opioids.
Tuesday night, the county commission passed a resolution that would move forward with the litigation process.
Macon-Bibb is joining counties and cities across the nation in a multi-district litigation. The county agreed to hire former Bibb County attorney, Virgil Adams, along with another law firm in Athens, Blasingame, Burch, Garrard and Ashley, PC.
Adams claims the drug companies withheld information and the county had to suffer million dollar consequences.
“It’s an ongoing nuisance and we definitely want to stop, so this does not continue and governments to be burdened by this excessive prescription,” said Adams.
“These drugs such as codeine, Oxycontin, were marketed as alleviators of chronic pain and did not work to do so,” said Adams.
Adams believes the drug companies failed to mention how addictive the drugs would be.
“If you have an individual that has a prescription for a pain killer type narcotic for whatever reason, they no longer are prescribed it and they get addicted to it, they’re going to be looking for it out on the street,” said Captain Randy Gonzalez with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office’s drug unit.
Capt. Gonzalez and his drug unit team have seen it happen. That’s why they had to take extra measures last summer and buy more than 300 Narcan kits to counteract an opioid overdose.
“Along with purchasing those kits, comes the training that each deputy and investigator has to be trained that’s going to carry this kit,” said Capt. Gonzalez.
That money spent is what the county is hoping to get back. As well as money spent on rehabilitation centers and drug courts. But Adams says it’s more than that.
“We want to stop the addiction and the abuse so that’s part of this as well, to end this problem,” said Adams.
The lawsuit also accuses drug companies’ failure to mention excessive prescriptions of opioids in Bibb county. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2011, for every 100 citizens, there were 165 opioid prescriptions.
Adams says the lawsuit will be filed in the next few days. He didn’t say how much it is suing for, but did say the county spent millions of dollars because of the opioid epidemic.