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New Hanover County Seal

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The opioid crisis is a problem that is not only sweeping the nation, but the Cape Fear region as well. That is why New Hanover County Commissioners approved their end of a joint effort with the City of Wilmington in the fight against the epidemic Monday night.

The Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to adopt the resolution that will target manufactures and distributors of opioids.

Last week the county and City of Wilmington announced a partnership to battle the crisis. While the city still has to vote, the county is preparing to sue those who have contributed to the growing epidemic.

In doing so, the county is seeking money to support the costs of battling the crisis and help those in need receive treatment. It is a move commissioners across the board agree with.

“We’re glad to pass the resolution tonight because, quite frankly, Wilmington, New Hanover County, has been identified as ground zero. And we’re not going to stand for it. And so this resolution, hopefully in joint with the city, hopefully they’ll join us, we’re going to actually pursue legal action against the manufactures and distributors to recover some of the cost in the community,” New Hanover County Vice-Chairman, Skip Watkins said.

“You’ve got so many pills that are going out with no accountability,” New Hanover County Commissioner, Jonathan Barfield said. “It’s time to have accountability there. And I think that’s the aim of this lawsuit to bring in to accountability.”

Right now there is no set date for when commissioners will begin filing lawsuits but they say they hope it will be as soon as possible.


Comment on this Story

  • Christopher Meyers

    So, here we are again with our New Hanover County commissioner Woody White attempting to take on “Big Pharma” using the NHC taxpayers money! Really? “Big Pharma” with gazillions of dollars, the best attorney’s money can buy and lil’ ol’ NHC is going to sue them? This is like taking a pair of nail clippers to fight ISIS in Iraq!
    Looks like another one of Woody White’s wasteful lawsuits similar to his failed attempt at ousting Brian Berger from the commission in 2013 at the wasteful cost of over $200,000.00 to the taxpayers! BIG FAIL!
    I understand the reason and I understand we have a serious problem with the opiates, but all this is going to do is empty the county coffers, the taxpayers pockets and provide ZERO results! But you know what? This is what lawyers do best!

  • Jeff

    Start with the over-prescribing physicians.

  • Reggie Hewett

    If a person misuses an automobile and hurts themselves or others . Should they sue the manufacturer?The user is the one accountable.

    • IUsedToBeCalledModerate

      Do automobiles cause a chemical reaction that makes the brain susceptible to addiction? Do doctors push you to purchase automobiles that lead to addiction?

    • shoemakerwrites

      One in twelve persons who is prescribed and takes opioids for pain will become addicted. The medication should be prescribed with extreme caution and due diligence. It should be a last effort at relief not a first. Furthermore, addiction is a disease not a lifestyle choice. Blaming the user who was prescribed a highly addictive pharmaceutical (with refills!) without close follow-up supervision by the physician is inane. On the other hand, threatening lawsuits against those contributing to the opioid crisis (a very vague threat, by the way) shuts down legal avenues for addicts and forces them into illicit avenues on the streets, which is very dangerous for us all and most especially is dangerous for our children. Pharmaceutical companies need to be better regulated. They spend enough in flash and flare and martini lunches to push their products to significantly supplement elderly costs in the emergency room who are unable to afford their blood pressure meds, but the big pharm companies won’t restructure how they spend their promo dollars, so grandma and grandpa will continue to end up in the emergency rooms. My point is that we live in a community. We have a community problem. We need a community solution. In the last year, opioid related deaths went from three each day in NC to four, and for every death there are four emergency room visits. We’re dealing only so-so effectively in reducing deaths -but we aren’t dealing with the disease and we certainly aren’t eradicating the cause, which I believe originates with big For-profit companies behaving irresponsibly by placing profits before people in our community.

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