Arkansas cities and counties sue opioid makers | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Arkansas cities and counties sue opioid makers

Posted By on Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 3:27 PM

click to enlarge LAWSUIT ANNOUNCED: State Drug Czar Kirk Lane, backed by city and county officials, talks about state court lawsuit filed against opioid industry. - ASSOCIATION OF ARKANSAS COUNTIES
  • Association of Arkansas Counties
  • LAWSUIT ANNOUNCED: State Drug Czar Kirk Lane, backed by city and county officials, talks about state court lawsuit filed against opioid industry.
Arkansas cities and counties have joined in a state court lawsuit against opioid makers with the hope of winning damages to address the problem.

The lawsuit by 72 counties and 210 cities — representing about 90 percent of the population in the state — names 65 drug makers and individual defendants. It was filed in Crittenden Circuit Court.

Said a news release:

“Though other lawsuits have been filed in federal courts across the country, Arkansas is the only state that has united in this fashion,” said Chris Villines, executive director of the Association of Arkansas Counties. “Instead of fighting and competing with each other on critically needed settlement dollars for our cities and counties, all of the cities and counties are working together to do what’s best for Arkansas.”

The epidemic is real and has ravaged Arkansas families for years. While the U.S. experiences more than 42,000 fatal overdoses a year, Arkansas experiences over 400, a number that has increased nearly 300 percent since 2000 and coincides with opioid sales quadrupling. Additionally, Arkansas ranks second in the nation for ages 12-17 in misuse of opioids (4.67%) behind Alabama, which is also the only other state with a higher opioid prescribing rate than Arkansas, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is hard to find anyone who hasn’t felt the effects of an opioid addiction from family, friends or even in themselves,” said Kirk Lane, Arkansas State Drug Director. “Though great strides have been made recently to curb the epidemic – especially helping cities fund necessary resources like the opiate antagonist Naloxone (Narcan) – much more could be done to fund ongoing programs for education and prevention.”

In 2017, there were more opioid prescriptions than people – enough for every man, woman and child to have 80 pills per year. Hospitals and rehabilitation systems cannot keep pace with the influx of victims. The resources of public safety officials are constantly strained to meet the overwhelming needs of opioid-related emergencies. As a result, the state of Arkansas, its counties, cities and taxpayers have funded the enormous societal costs of the opioid epidemic, but have had insufficient revenue to turn the tide of the epidemic.

“Arkansas’s one-voice approach to this lawsuit is one that gives us a seat at the table,” said Don Zimmerman, executive director of the Arkansas Municipal League. “Neither the state or any county or city is big enough alone; this litigation approach ensures that recovered damages remain in Arkansas.”

Tags: , , ,

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel applauds Trump's EPA choice of climate change denier Scott Pruitt

    Dustin McDaniel gives the thumbs up to a man set to dismantle EPA regulations.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation