County joins lawsuit against opioid distributors

Brown County has joined other counties in Ohio in a class action lawsuit against distributors of opioid based medications.
The Brown County Commissioners approved joining the lawsuit on June 28.
“It sends a message to everyone involved that they have to take some responsibility for the drug problem,” said Commissioner Tony Applegate.
Commissioner Daryll Gray said, “We are hoping to get some relief from the expenses we’ve suffered from the drug problem.”
Gray pointed to the increase in the county jail population as a symptom of the problem.
“This three million dollar jail expansion is necessary because of the issues created by the drug problem,” he said.
Applegate agreed.
“The overloading of the court system and the jail system in this county is clear for everyone to see.  A large part of that is opiate epidemic related.  Whether it is directly drug related or all of the other crimes that result from drug addiction like theft, it’s a big part our county budget,” Applegate said.
“If we didn’t have to deal with this problem. we would have some money to send on the good tax paying citizens of the county to improve their quality of life.”
Applegate also addressed the financial pressure that Brown County is under.
“Most small counties are in the same situation as us.  They don’t know where the money is going to come from to fight this drug problem.”
The commissioners passed a resolution declaring that “the distribution of prescription pain pills has created a public nuisance in Brown County and has caused harm to residents of Brown County” on June 28.
The resolution also states, “WHEREAS, recent media sources have documented the role of wholesale distributors in contributing to this public health and safety crisis by refusing to abide by federal regulations specifically designed to prevent the diversion of prescription opiates into the illicit market;
WHEREAS, Paul T. Farrell, Jr., a West Virginia attorney licensed to practice law in Ohio, has designed a plan and assembled national consortium of elite trial counsel to investigate, pursue civil litigation and hold responsible the wholesale distributors who repeatedly violated federal law and dumped millions of prescription opiates into communities across the country.”
The lawsuit is based on contingency, which means that the county is not required to pay if the case is not won, nor will the county be responsible for litigation expenses.
No public funds will be used to fund the lawsuit.
The Clermont County Board of County Commissioners has also joined in the suit.
“As a County, we have spent millions of dollars over the last several years addressing this crisis,” said Commissioner David Uible, President of the BCC in a press release. “Our law enforcement and courts are greatly taxed by this. Our social service agencies such as Children’s Protective Services are busier than ever as families are being split apart. There is virtually no part of county government that has not been impacted by this. But even more than that, there is no neighborhood in Clermont County that has not been affected by this crisis. And our public funds are not sufficient to address this crisis.”