Dougherty Co. seeks litigation on opioid crisis

Dougherty Co. seeks litigation on opioid crisis
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, in 20-16, one hundred 16 people died every day across the U.S. from opioid related drug overdoses. (Source: WALB)
One of the law firms presenting to the county commissioners (Source: WALB)
One of the law firms presenting to the county commissioners (Source: WALB)
Chris Cohilas, Dougherty County Commission Chairman (Source: WALB)
Chris Cohilas, Dougherty County Commission Chairman (Source: WALB)
Spencer Lee, County Attorney (Source: WALB)
Spencer Lee, County Attorney (Source: WALB)
Pharmacist counts perscription medicine pills (Source: WALB)
Pharmacist counts perscription medicine pills (Source: WALB)

DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - The opioid crisis is taking many neighborhoods and cities across the country by storm.

And leaders here in Dougherty County are preparing to fight this epidemic.

County Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas said commissioners plan to file a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical industry and pill abusers.

On Monday, five different law firms from across the state presented their experience and knowledge to the commissioners.

Now commissioners are considering which law firm they could potentially choose to help ask for damages for Dougherty County.

"I think you have to start discussions with your medical providers as well as law enforcement and sort of infiltrate the issue from all sides," said Cohilas.

The five law firm groups that presented were: Simmons, Hanly, Conroy; Studstill Firm LLP; Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley PC; The Hatchett Firm; and Vaughn, Wright & Boyer.

Cohilas said they will be looking for expertise and connection to the Southwest Georgia community when choosing a law firm.

"When you go to church and you meet a family, who has buried their 22-year-old son because after he got off of opioids, he then looked for heroin and then he overdoses, that lets you know that that's an issue that needs to be addressed," explained Cohilas.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, in 2016, 116 people died every day across the U.S. from opioid-related drug overdoses.

County Attorney Spencer Lee said any of the five law firms would serve the community well.

"The litigation will take somewhere between two to three years. So we're way down the line on whether or not the county can show the damages to this community as a result of opioid abuse," stated Lee.

County commissioners have not set a deadline for choosing a firm at this time.

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