CHARLESTON – Three more lawsuits have been filed against the drug distributors who allegedly flooded the state with pain killers and caused the opioid epidemic across the state.|
Calhoun County and the towns of Sophia and Milton filed their lawsuits against AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corporation. The lawsuit was approved by the Calhoun Commission.
The lawsuits allege the drug distributors, local pharmacies and doctors have caused and contributed to the opioid epidemic and will continue to cause Calhoun County, Sophia and Milton to disburse substantial sums of public funds to deal with the consequences of the opioid epidemic that was fueled by the defendants' negligent/illegal, reckless, and malicious actions in flooding the state with highly addictive prescription medications without regard for the adverse effects.
Milton Mayor Tom Canterbury, the Calhoun County commissioners and Sophia Mayor Danny Bar said the cost to the towns and the county has been affected them both financially and spiritually.
The suits seek damages for reimbursement for Sophia, Milton and Calhoun County, including, but not limited to, increased expenses of drug abuse treatment program, prevention and training costs, costs of the drug Naloxone, as well as education, training and use, medical care and hospitalizations, increased costs of law enforcement and nuisance damages.
The lawsuit alleges that the towns and the county were flooded with opioid pain killers from 2007 until 2012.
Rusty Webb is representing the towns and the county. He is also representing many other cities and counties who have filed lawsuits against the drug distributors.
The state settled its lawsuit with the distributors earlier this year for $47 million.
More than 840 West Virginians fatally overdosed on drugs last year — a record number — and additional deaths are expected to be added to the total in the coming weeks.
Fatal overdoses related to fentanyl, an opioid that’s 100 times stronger than prescription morphine, have fueled the increase.
West Virginia already has the highest drug overdose death rate in the nation.
Hospitals use fentanyl to sedate patients before surgery. Doctors also prescribe the drug to alleviate very severe pain.
But the fentanyl that’s killing people in West Virginia and numerous other states comes in a powder form — or compressed into pills in underground labs.
Fentanyl depresses a person’s respiratory system. Drug traffickers often mix fentanyl with heroin.