County weighing counsel options pending opioid lawsuit

WICHITA COUNTY, TX (KAUZ) - Wichita County officials have a decision to make. They will decide to join a growing list of counties that are suing pharmaceutical companies for opioid epidemics or fighting them alone.

Barry Mahler, County Commissioner Precinct 3, said there are some benefits to filing as a single county.

For that reason, the commissioner's court is looking into several law firms to represent the county to see what is the best option.

The issue is very big in Wichita County. Statistics show the county is high on the list in Texas for opioid prescriptions.

Commissioner Mahler said, at one time, on average 100 residents in the county had 188 prescriptions for opioid painkillers.

"Part of the reason is to get the manufactures of these products to use more wisely," Commissioner Mahler said. "To instruct doctors to prescribe them more wisely and to use them for what they are used for."

Commissioner Mahler said this has already been determined as an MDL which is a multiple district litigation.

In other words, they are going to take a lot of individual suits and group them together in the federal courts, much like a class action lawsuit.

That being said, the county is looking into law firms that have experience in that.

The commissioner's court will make that decision Friday morning. Newschannel 6 will be there to let you know they decide.

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