KANSAS CITY, Mo – Former Royals and Jackson County Executive Frank White plays in a new stadium. This time it's a courtroom
Jackson County has filed a civil lawsuit against more than two dozen drug companies and blamed them for the opioid epidemic.
Jackson County is one of several jurisdictions across the country, including Cook County, Illinois; New York; the city of Newark, New Jersey; and 30 counties in California who sued pharmaceutical companies for taking more and more lives and taxpayers' money.
"I had it for the first time when I followed the epidemic in Cleveland, Ohio," White said.
In the past year, there were alarming 500 deaths in Cleveland that were directly related to opioid abuse.
White wanted to know how bad the opioid problem is in Jackson County. Therefore, he worked with the legislature to issue a prescription drug monitoring program. It is pursuing pharmaceutical recipes.
"In 2017, there were somewhere around 636 recipes per 1,000 people written, and that's so stunning," White said. "And so we thought, as Jackson County, it was time to rise and hold the people who should be held accountable."
Jackson County has filed suit against more than two dozen drug companies resulting from what the lawsuit mentions "the worst human-induced epidemic in modern medical history: the misuse, abuse and overdose of prescription opioids."
From 1999 to 2016, over 350,000 Americans died of overdoses of opiates. That's more losses than in the Vietnam War. In 2016, there were 101 opioid deaths in Jackson County alone.
White said the drug companies are responsible.
"I had knee surgery in 1990, and all they gave me was Tylenol 3, and that seemed like enough," White said. "I tell all my relatives who have undergone surgery," be careful with the medications you take, because in 30 days you may be dependent on them. "The claim claims that the goal of pharmaceutical companies is simple:" To dramatically increase sales by persuading physicians to prescribe opioids not only for severe pain associated with cancer or short-term postoperative pain, but also for chronic pain such as back pain and arthritis. "
And the drug makers did so," although they knew the opioids were addictive and abusive. "
" Deceptive advertising sometimes adds to the problem. And I do not think you should ever get to the point where you're making a profit on safety, and I think that's the goal. That's where I see it, "said White.
Missouri is the only state in the Union that does not have a nationwide prescription drug monitoring program.
White said he hoped the state of Jackson County and more follow as 60 other counties in Missouri do locally to track the use and prescriptions of opiates He said that saving lives will help control the epidemic that now seems to be out of control.
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