Wichita Co. latest to join federal opioid lawsuit - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Wichita Co. latest to join federal opioid lawsuit

Opioids Opioids
Opioids Opioids
WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) -

Wichita County is finalizing a deal with the Altman Law Firm to represent the county in a lawsuit against big pharmaceutical companies and the opioid epidemic.

On Tuesday, county commissioners made the decision official. They decided to take part because they need to get a handle on the problem.

Statistics show that Wichita County is one of the top opioid using counties in the state. It's cost the county money, affected the tax rate, and led to lost lives.

"It does affect us here locally," Precinct 1 Commissioner, Mark Beauchamp said. "It affects each and every one of our pocketbooks. It affects our tax rate."

The opioid epidemic has spread throughout the country. It's why counties from every state are joining a federal lawsuit.

They're going after money lost, spent resources used to address the problem. They're going after pharmaceutical companies.

"They may have presented things that told the physicians this is not addictive, it's not a problem," Wichita County Judge, Woody Gossom said. "They've kind of softened on it and in the outcome, it appears it's very addictive."

According to the American Thoracic Society, opioid overdose cases in 162 U.S. intensive care units increased by 34 percent in 2015.

In 2009 the average cost of treating ICU overdose patients was $58,517 dollars. In 2015 it was over $92,000. What about Wichita County?

"Last years statistics show that there's more than one prescription of opioid medication written for every individual in Wichita County," Commissioner Beauchamp said. "That's just what was written in Wichita County itself. How many people that live in this county and go to Oklahoma City or Dallas to doctors and get additional prescriptions prescribed?"

County leaders said it's important to stay in front of this epidemic and that's their goal by joining the lawsuit.

"We're doing our best to do what we can do to control to work with," Judge Gossom said. "We've had good aggressive law enforcement and prosecution."

"To be one of the lead counties in the state to take a hold of this charge, it does feel good," Commissioner Beauchamp said. "It puts us in a good position."

The process is a slow one. Commissioner Beauchamp said it could take as long as five years, and that is if a settlement is reached.

Judge Gossom said they won't have day-to-day involvement in the lawsuit. He added that people need to be aware that while opioids can be very beneficial, they are even more addicting.

Copyright 2018 RNN Texoma All Rights Reserved

  • News HeadlinesNewsMore>>

  • Trump welcomes wife home in tweet that misspells her name

    Trump welcomes wife home in tweet that misspells her name

    Saturday, May 19 2018 10:46 AM EDT2018-05-19 14:46:23 GMT
    Sunday, May 20 2018 5:55 AM EDT2018-05-20 09:55:38 GMT
    Melania Trump is back at the White House after an extended hospitalization for a kidney procedure. (Source: Susan Walsh/AP Photos)Melania Trump is back at the White House after an extended hospitalization for a kidney procedure. (Source: Susan Walsh/AP Photos)

    Melania Trump is back at the White House after an extended hospitalization for a kidney procedure.

    Melania Trump is back at the White House after an extended hospitalization for a kidney procedure.

  • Texas school gunman: 'I'm going to kill you.' Then he fired

    Texas school gunman: 'I'm going to kill you.' Then he fired

    Saturday, May 19 2018 11:51 PM EDT2018-05-20 03:51:30 GMT
    Sunday, May 20 2018 5:55 AM EDT2018-05-20 09:55:43 GMT

    The mother of one slain student said her daughter may have been targeted because she rejected advances from the suspect, who was an ex-boyfriend of her daughter's best friend.

    The mother of one slain student said her daughter may have been targeted because she rejected advances from the suspect, who was an ex-boyfriend of her daughter's best friend.

  • US, China say Beijing commits to buying more American goods

    US, China say Beijing commits to buying more American goods

    Saturday, May 19 2018 2:41 PM EDT2018-05-19 18:41:01 GMT
    Sunday, May 20 2018 5:55 AM EDT2018-05-20 09:55:22 GMT
    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster). White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks during a television interview outside the West Wing of the White House, in Washington, Friday, May 18, 2018.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster). White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks during a television interview outside the West Wing of the White House, in Washington, Friday, May 18, 2018.

    A joint statement also said the countries agree on the need for "effective measures" to reduce America's trade deficit and to strengthen cooperation on protecting intellectual property.

    A joint statement also said the countries agree on the need for "effective measures" to reduce America's trade deficit and to strengthen cooperation on protecting intellectual property.

Powered by Frankly