They join other jurisdictions across the state and the country.
Frederick, Md (KM). Joining other jurisdictions around the state and the country, the City of Frederick and Frederick County have filed suit against drug manufacturers and distributors for their role in the opioid crisis. They say they want pharmaceutical companies held accountable for their role in promoting these products which can cause addictions, and even death.
“These are the kind of steps that have been taken in other cases where there is at least some belief that it’s possible that the manufacturers and distributors of these products perhaps could have known more, or done a better job to help the public be aware of the health impacts,” says Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor. “Really, this is trying to get to the bottom of that question.”
Similar lawsuits filed by other jurisdictions have claimed that drug manufacturers and distributors intensified the opioid epidemic by minimizing or concealing the risks to doctors and patients about the high probability of addictions associated with these drugs.
Physicians have prescribed these medications to help control pain, but, unfortunately, patients become dependent on them. If they can’t find these drugs, these people often become hooked on heroin.
There is no monetary compensation being sought by Frederick City and the County in this lawsuit. “It’s not about the money. It’s about trying to make sure that there’s a more complete conversation nationwide about the impact about these kinds of things,” says Mayor O’Connor.
“If there are resources that ultimately do become available, that’s great,” says O’Connor. “But I’m more interested today in changing behaviors across the spectrum, whether that’s from manufacturers and the distributors of these products to be sure that’s they’re being done in a responsible way that truly has patient health long term in mind.”
Local officials say up to May 31st of this year in Frederick County, law enforcement agencies have handled 154 opioid-related overdoses, including 25 fatal overdoses.
Whether it’s opioids, heroin spice or other illegal drugs, the Mayor says the problem of drug abuse is “substantial” in Frederick, and takes up a lot of time and resources. “But more importantly, there’s a human toll. There’s a toll on individuals. There’s a toll on families. There’s a toll on social services. And we have a responsibility as a community to respond to the needs as they materialize,” he says.
Both Frederick City and the County have retained the law Firm of Robbins, Geller, Rudman and Dowd, which will file the lawsuit in Federal District Court in Baltimore. This firm has been hired by several counties and cities across the state, including Montgomery and Baltimore Counties. Other jurisdiction in Maryland which have filed suit against drug manufacturers and distributors are Anne Arundel, Harford and Cecil Counties.
By Kevin McManus