Oklahoma County Drafting Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers
OKLAHOMA COUNTY - Oklahoma County is looking to take legal action against opioid manufacturers.
The decision was made unanimously Wednesday by all three county commissioners. The goal of the lawsuit is to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for damages, they said, were caused at a county level.
The amount of money the county is after could be hundreds of millions of dollars.
“We have increased costs in jailing people. Because of the opioid scandal that was created by the pharmaceutical companies, we have additional policing costs,” said Oklahoma County Commissioner Kevin Calvey.
The vote came shortly after the state of Oklahoma's trial against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson ended.
More than 50 other cities and counties in the state have already done the same.
“The fact that the state was able to reach a settlement with one or more of the pharmaceutical companies for its own claims, (we) kind of think that maybe since we have our own claims to make that we may be able to approach something like that as well, but there is no way to tell for certain,” said Calvey.
Calvey said he'd like to see whatever money awarded go toward mental health and substance abuse programs in the county.
“It is a very significant figure,” said Calvey. “It is very much worth the county's interest, and it's in the interest of the taxpayers to get reimbursed for some of those costs.”
As lawyers get to work, anticipation builds for what's next.
“We're looking for the real bad actors,” said Attorney Alex Yaffee. “The folks that flooded the market with opioids, that falsely told doctors that these were safe, that put false studies in front of these doctors.”
Lawyers are working to pinpoint an exact dollar amount for damages caused. It could be some time before the matter ends up in court, if it even does.