Russell County Commission to file opioid lawsuit against manufacturers

RUSSELL COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - The Russell County Commission met Wednesday morning and heard from Rhon Jones of the Beasley Allen Law Firm about filing a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers.

Shortly after Jones' presentation, all commissioners approved a motion to move forward with the county filing a lawsuit against the opioid manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, L.P., one of the largest opioid manufacturers in the country.

"It's one of the biggest problems nationally and locally here in Russell County with opioid cases," Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said.

In a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 110 opioids are prescribed per 100 people in the county.

"If you look at every city, every county in Alabama it's a little different," Jones said.

The lawsuit claims millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on the epidemic and attorneys want to hold manufacturers responsible by having the money reimbursed.

"The cost that is being expended, healthcare, treatment, rehab, law enforcement, loss of productivity from workers," Jones said.

Former United States Senator of Alabama and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced within the last 24 hours a new opioid task force that will target drug manufacturers, distributors of what the Attorney General said is contributing to fatal overdoses.

Attorneys from the Beasley Allen Law Firm also filed a lawsuit against these manufacturers on the State of Alabama's behalf.

Attorneys presented at the Lee County Commission meeting within the last week in hopes a lawsuit will be filed in that county as well.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster is handling the case out of Cleveland, Ohio. There are talks of a settlement in this case, but Alabama attorneys believe a final say on this lawsuit will take anywhere from 18-24 months possibly longer.

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