Organization speaks out on Cook. Co. opioid lawsuit

Opioid drugs are killing more people than guns according to Albany leaders. (Source: WALB)
Opioid drugs are killing more people than guns according to Albany leaders. (Source: WALB)
Updated: Mar. 30, 2018 at 2:18 AM EDT
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Tim Merton (Source: WALB)
Tim Merton (Source: WALB)

COOK CO., GA (WALB) - One South Georgia organization is speaking out in favor of the class action lawsuit filed by Cook County this month against several major pharmaceutical companies they believe played a role in the opioid epidemic.

Open Door Christian Home works with men who struggle with drug addiction in Adel.

They are hopeful this lawsuit will open the eyes of these companies.

"I really do think its a money making machine that's gotten out of control."

Cook County is just one of several counties to join in the class action lawsuit against over a dozen pharmaceutical companies and distributors that have played a part in the opioid crisis sweeping the nation.

Tim Merton, the director of Open Door Christian Home Rehabilitation facility, says he supports their decision.

+Leaders work to end 
deadly opioid epidemic in SWGA
+Albany doctors recommend alternatives to opioids
+Phoebe tackles opioid epidemic with new strategies

+Narcan doses delivered by paramedics more than doubled
+CDC: Opioid overdoses jump 30% across 

"I believe that they're on track with suing some of these big pharmaceutical manufacturers," said Merton.

The lawsuit calls for defendants to compensate Cook County for costs incurred by the opioid epidemic, such as medical care, counseling and law-enforcement costs, as well as attorney's fees and court costs.

"Most of our clients are because of opioid addiction which generally will lead to opiate addiction, which is heroin and some of the heavier drugs," said Merton.

Open Door is a faith-based, live-in organization that houses up to 17 men at a time, helping them maintain sobriety through a 12-step program after a 28-day inpatient program. They attend church regularly and help them find jobs.

"I think in the future if there's more accountability, stricter laws, there possibly won't be as much addiction," said Merton.

Merton said he seeing the opioid crisis shifting to a younger age group.

"When kids get hurt playing sports and that kind of thing, they're prescribing them painkillers, the opioids, at young ages and they're getting addicted 12,13,14 years old," said Merton.

Mertons says pay attention to people you care about, as this impacts everyone.

"Everybody knows a family member a friend, somebody, but the stigma of it causes people to keep it as well hidden as they possibly can until it becomes obvious that their life is out of control," said Merton.

WALB News 10 reached out to Cook County's attorney to see where they stand at this time in the lawsuit, but have not heard back.

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