Broward And Palm Beach Counties To Sue Drug Makers For Opioid Epidemic

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Broward And Palm Beach Counties To Sue Drug Makers For Opioid Epidemic

So far in December, at least two Florida counties have moved to initiate lawsuits against pharmaceutical drug makers, asking for reimbursement associated with the costs of the seemingly never-ending opioid epidemic.

They assert that these companies misled patients about the addictive potential, risks and dangers of prescription opioid use.

Earlier this week the Broward commission directed the county attorney, Drew Meyers, to pursue a suit against several drug makers, agreeing that Meyers will also select a legal team that will likely file by the end of the year.

According to the SunSentinel, commissioners had “harsh words” for opioid drug manufacturers which “might have known their medications were more addictive” than they purported.

Last week, Palm Beach County commissioners also voted unanimously to take legal action against drug companies. The first Florida county to file such a lawsuit was Osceola, according to the SunSentinel.

Costs associated with the epidemic include those related to emergency services, jails, and addiction treatment, which result in millions of extra tax dollars paid out by residents of these counties.

Seven years ago, before a major crackdown, Florida was the pill mill capital of the U.S., a state with numerous storefront clinics where physicians would haphazardly distribute opioids to patients. By 2010, the Drug Enforcement Administration claimed that 98 of the 100 top opioid-prescribing doctors were located in Florida.

Since that time, Florida, along with most of the country, has seen a dramatic increase in both addiction and overdose deaths associated with the abuse of painkillers, heroin, fentanyl, and other synthetic opioids.

Representatives of these companies deny any wrongdoing, and in response to the suits, claim that they have taken preventative measures to minimize opioid drug diversion to the black market.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology


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