Athens-Clarke County is among several local governments in Georgia and across the country joining in a federal lawsuit against the manufacturers and distributors of opioids.
Commissioner Jerry NeSmith says the suit alleges manufacturers “aggressively push highly-addictive, dangerous opioids, falsely representing to doctors that patients would only rarely succumb to drug addiction.”
"They aggressively advertised to and persuaded doctors to prescribe highly addictive, dangerous opioids, turned patients into drug addicts for their own profit. It was intentional and unlawful," said NeSmith. "And to the distributors, it was much the same. Basically they unlawfully breached their legal duties under federal and state law to monitor, detect and investigate, refuse and report suspicious orders of prescription opiates." NeSmith says the county is being represented by the law firm of Blasingame, Burch, Gerrard and Ashley on a contingency basis. "There's no expense to us, if we win then that money will go toward drug treatment programs, such as those that are done by Advantage Behavioral Health here locally," said NeSmith. The county wants to recoup money due to a wide range of costs associated with opioid addiction. "All of the public service costs, incarceration, prosecution, treatment, diversion, all those things," said NeSmith. The lawsuit will be held in federal court in Ohio.