Cumberland County commissioners file lawsuit against opioid manufacturers
Cumberland County has joined other counties in our region filing suit against opioid manufacturers and deliverers.
County commissioners filed the lawsuit Tuesday. In the 250 page document, 20 companies are listed. You can see which ones by reading here, starting on page two.
The commissioners say these companies need to be a part of the solution in the epidemic that is gripping the state and country right now. I'm 2017, 83 people died as a result of opioid overdoses, officials confirm. That's double than two years ago.
"We had two pregnant women in our county who were near term and lost their lives and their babies before they were even able to take their first breath. That is chilling," says Jim Hertzler, Vice Chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners. "The drug manufacturers and the distributors and others have been complicit in this whole problem."
Hertzler tells CBS 21 that the county has accrued enormous costs as a result of the epidemic. From law enforcement, to the coroner's office and Children and Youth Services, every agency is affected financially. The commissioners are seeking compensation from the companies listed in the suit to make up for those taxpayer funds. The lawsuit costs nothing to the county to file and is based on a contingency fee.
Families in the area, who've lost loved ones as a result of the epidemic, say they believe the county is doing what it can to help.
Allan Jones lost his son to a heroin overdose four months ago. He says while the heartbreak continues, he made a promise to stay involved and help others.
"It's good to go after them because that's where it starts. We had to get through Thanksgiving, Christmas and then his birthday was February 2, so that really hit close to home. I've been surviving by keeping myself involved."
Jones started a group called the Carlisle Area Anti-Heroin Coalition to help law enforcement and government agencies. He joins forces with others in the community who've lost loved ones, by getting involved and being a part of the solution.