VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - In Valdosta, city council members are fighting to help rid communities of the opioid epidemic.
The city has officially decided to join the opioid lawsuit, along with many other municipalities. They are aiming at the manufacturing and distribution of opioids.
City leaders said the goal of this lawsuit is to let major pharmaceutical companies know that the opioid epidemic is out of control and they will no longer sit back and watch it grow.
"There was enough prescription in 2011, I believe, that could medicate every American with a 5 m.g. hydrocodone for four months," said Attorney Tim Tanner.
Tanner said city council members officially declared the opioid crisis to be a nuisance in the city of Valdosta, joining sister cities through the state in a lawsuit to help put an end to the opioid epidemic.
"There's been a rise in the amount of opioid deaths, a lot of problems with opioids throughout the community, so what we're trying to do is find a solution," explained Tanner.
Tanner explained that in 2014, 103 opioid prescriptions were prescribed per 100 people.
"The fact that overdose deaths related to opioids has quadrupled over the last fifteen years, in 2001 for instance, the number of opioid deaths in the state of Georgia was approximately 158, in 2014, I think that increased to 588. So you can see the dramatic increase of opioid-related overdose deaths," said Tanner.
Tanner said this is not exactly a class action lawsuit, but more like a hybrid.
The lawsuit will be spearheaded by Brinson Askew Berry Law Firm and will eventually be handled in the state of Ohio with a slew of others who have filed lawsuits.
"Now there are about 15 different corporations that are involved in this lawsuit like I said, they're manufactures and distributors, that lawsuit is pending in Ohio," said Tanner.
If won, the funds would go toward helping the fight against opioids, like the investment of Narcan spray for police forces through the county.
"These opioids are dangerous, they can become addictive very quickly and there's a cost associated with that," said Tanner.
Tanner said the next steps are to wait on the law firm in charge to initiate litigation.