Lubbock County commissioners consider opioid lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies

LUBBOCK, TX - Lubbock County commissioners are considering whether to file a lawsuit taking on pharmaceutical companies. It's all because of the opioid addiction plaguing the country, including Lubbock County. 

No direct action was made, but they decided to choose a law firm that could represent Lubbock County if they choose to file suit. 

Opioid addiction is a serious issue facing the county. 

"We've had a few clients who stopped coming to treatment, didn't want to do it anymore and overdosed," said Cole Watts, co-owner and operator at Stages of Recovery, an addiction rehab center in Lubbock. "We're talking 19-years-old, 20-years-old."

According to the amfAR Opioid and Health Indicator Database, in 2016, 37 people died of drug-related causes in Lubbock County. However, that doesn't necessarily mean those addictions started with prescription drugs, which is the kind of drug abuse on the rise in the region. 

In a meeting, county commissioners discussed a possible lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies that manufacture prescription medication. 

"We're engaged in a fact-finding mission at this point to see what exactly is the range of repercussions suffered from over-prescription of these medications," said Neal Burt after he presented to the commissioners. 

No direct action was taken, but the county is going to find a law firm that could represent Lubbock in the future.

"We're still in the process of whether or not filing suit on behalf of Lubbock County would be prudent and the best interest of the county," Burt said. 

For Watts, he hopes the county can hold pharmaceutical companies responsible, but said the real prevention starts at home. 

"Parents need to be more involved," he said. "If you suspect your child, teenager, middle school, if taking something, it's probably just the tip of the iceberg. Just being more aware, more involved, disposing of medication and locking them up."


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