Allen County plans legal action against opioid companies

Allen County Department of Health says that in Allen County in 2017 alone, there have been over 450 drug overdoses, and over 30 overdose deaths.

Posted: Dec 16, 2017 6:35 AM
Updated: Dec 16, 2017 6:36 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)  Allen County Department of Health says that in Allen County in 2017 alone, there have been over 450 drug overdoses, and over 30 overdose deaths.

The Allen County government now plans to sue pharmaceutical companies that help influence the opioid epidemic.

Friday, the Allen County commissioners approved an agreement with Crueger Dickinson, a Wisconsin law firm to sue pharmaceutical companies.

"There's been some alleged behaviors, from the pharmaceutical and distributing companies that may have facilitated the opioid crisis and at the local level is where the buck stops because there where the services are really provided," said Dr. Deborah McMahon, Allen County Health Commissioner.

Those behaviors? "They were over providing opioids to doctors who were they knew were prescribing too much."

Plus, the alleged lack of informing people about the dangerous effects of the drugs. McMahon says she's not sure how much it costs the county to deal with opoid abuse, but it's a lot.

"We have increased housing people in jail for drugs and criminal acts to get money to buy drugs. We have more kids in DCS that need foster care and care because their parents are still on drugs. We have the cost of medication assisted treatment and the therpay and counseling and behavior therapy for that."

Renee Russell, a recovering opioid addict, says she's glad the government wants to do something about the epidemic.

"I think it's good. I think they played a huge role in creating the ginormous opioid epidemic in Fort Wayne. I hope they put the money back to the resources into the community to help solve the problem."

The resources? "Treatment centers, more like the Park Center that just opened, a place where people can withdraw besides jail, not having to be court ordered there, and vivitrol."

Zach Warner says that it's great the government is taking a stand but doesn't think the opioid makers are completely responsible.

"The fact that these medications are openly known for being addictive, that's common knowledge, it sort of falls on the people who abuse those medications and the doctors that over prescribe those medications is what pushed the epidemic further."

The lawsuit hasn't been filed yet. Other cities, counties and states have filed similar lawsuits.

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