Lanett agrees to join statewide opioid lawsuit

Published 10:22 am Wednesday, April 25, 2018

LANETT — The Lanett City Council recently agreed to join a number of Alabama cities and counties in a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers. On Monday, they approved a resolution to hire the attorneys to represent them.

Lanett is on a growing list of Alabama cities and counties being represented in the lawsuit by Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methven, Portis and Miles P.C. and Gray, Langford, Sapp, McGowan, Gray, Gray and Nathanson.

The resolution reads: “The City of Lanett wishes to protect its citizens as much as it is reasonably possible from deceptive and unfair marketing practices and illegal and inappropriate selling and distribution of opioids which are ravaging the citizens of the City of Lanett and burdening the city with increasing monetary and societal costs, thus fueling a growing crisis in our city and state.”

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The resolution notes the involvement of the large pharmaceutical companies in this national crisis.

“(It’s) at least partially fueled by pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, distributors of opioids and others engaged in the illegal and improper marketing of opioids to our citizens,” the resolution reads.

The goal of the legal action is for cities and counties burdened by this crisis to recover the costs they have to pay in the form of incarceration, legal procedures and hospital-related costs.

“Local efforts are required to combat the opioid misuse, overdoses, deaths and associated crime,” the resolution reads. “Public health and public safety services are necessary and are being implemented by the City of Lanett and others for justice-involved individuals and non-justice involved individuals and families impacted by the abuses associated with opioid consumption.”

“This is a national crisis,” said City Attorney Stanley Gray. “Over 200 lawsuits are currently pending. How these drugs were marketed caused people to become addicted. Local governments have been pressed into service because of it. The litigation will take place in Cleveland, Ohio. There’s no cost to the city to do this and no guarantee the city will
be able to recover anything.”

In other action on Monday, the council agreed to participate in this year’s Back-to-School sales tax holiday, which takes place on July 20-22, approved a resolution recognizing Saturday, May 4 as Hike-Bike-Run Day in the city, and updated its existing Drug and Alcohol Policy.

The existing policy was adopted in 1996. The changes that have been added recognize EAMC-Lanier Hospital as the drug-testing vendor and includes new types of drugs that are tested for.