Wilmington and New Hanover County considering lawsuit against opioid contributors


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Opioids are the leading cause of death for people under 50. That is why two local governments are joining forces against the opioid epidemic.

New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington announced a partnership to fight against the epidemic. This could lead to legal action against those who contributed to the opioid epidemic which includes drug distributors.

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“Things are happening and these are important steps that we’ve taken in our community. But taking legal action to make the perpetrators pay for the damage they’ve inflicted is necessary,” New Hanover Commissioner, Woody White said..

White and Mayor Bill Saffo said Wilmington is ground zero for the crisis.

“Wilmington has the highest opioid related abuse rate in the nation. In the entire nation. Almost 12 percent of our population according to one nation wide study,” Saffo said.

White also said according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, opioid related deaths have increased by 73% in 10 years. In New Hanover county, the number of deaths doubled over the past decade.

“New Hanover County is struggling with the toll that this opioid abuse is taking on our community, our public resources and and we must be proactive as we combat this epidemic,” White said.

New Hanover County commissioners and Wilmington City Council will each consider a resolution, which includes filing a lawsuit, to take the necessary steps to beat this issue together.

Commissioners will meet Monday to consider the resolution. City Council meets next Wednesday since the election is on Tuesday.