Commissioners take action against opioids

The Stokes County Board of Commissioners has signed an agreement with a large number of law firms from throughout the United States to file civil litigation against the pharmaceutical manufacturers for alleged improper marketing of opioids and the drug distributors of opioids for improper reporting of prescription orders to the federal government. The Board also passed a resolution declaring the opioid epidemic a public nuisance at its meeting on January 22, 2018.

“After very careful consideration our board of commissioners decided to take additional steps on behalf of our citizens to help put an end to the opioid epidemic that affects the daily lives of all our residents,” said Chairman Ronnie Mendenhall. “This is in addition to the other efforts we have already taken. As a board we are committed to do all that is possible to abate this epidemic that over many years has worsened daily from the unlawful marketing of opioids and illegal sale of lawfully prescribed opioids. Stokes County suffers tremendously from the lives that have been ruined and forever lost as a result of opioid addiction.”

Commissioner Jimmy Walker added, “We need to use all the tools at our disposal including this multi-district litigation which our county attorney Ty Browder and local counsel Garry Whitaker have presented to us as an option. Our highly experienced attorneys were the first to begin this litigation on behalf of counties and cities in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and other states. In addition, we have been able to agree with our attorneys that there will be absolutely no expenditure of any taxpayer money for attorneys’ fees or any expenses of the lawsuit.”

The National Institute of Drug Abuse, a division of the National Institute of Health, reports that every day more than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids and finds that the misuse of and addiction to opioids, including prescription pain relievers, heroin and synthetic opioids, are a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.

The board signed a contract to retain national law firms, Baron & Budd, PC from Dallas, Texas; McHugh Fuller Law Group from Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, PA from Pensacola, Florida; Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler, PLLC from Charleston, West Virginia; Greene, Ketchum, Farrell, Bailey & Tweel, LLP from Huntington, West Virginia, Powell & Majestro, Charleston, West Virginia and local North Carolina law firms, Pinto, Coates, Kyre & Bowers, PLLC, Greensboro, North Carolina; Donald R. Vaughan and Associates, Greensboro, North Carolina; and Garry Whitaker Law, P. C., Winston-Salem, North Carolina.