Yadkin County joins in civil litigation over opioid drug crisis

Staff Report

Following closed session at its Monday night meeting, the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to pass a resolution declaring the opioid crisis a public nuisance which must be abated for the benefit of Yadkin County and its residents and citizens. The commissioners also signed a contract with a large number of law firms throughout the southeastern United States to file civil litigation in the courts against the manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioid pain relievers.

“Our board of commissioners has decided to take action on behalf of our citizens to do all that we can to put an end to the opioid abuse that daily affects the lives of all of our residents,” said Commissioner Kevin Austin, chairman of the county board, in a press statement sent following Monday’s meeting. “We believe and have resolved as a board that it is critically necessary that we do all that is possible to abate the nuisance that we see increasing daily from the illegal diversion and abuse of opioid drugs.

“We know this will not be an easy or quick process, but we feel it is paramount to do so if there is any way to end this crisis that is impacting so many individuals and families. We have retained experienced professionals who have already filed litigation in behalf of numerous counties and cities in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky and other areas. In addition, we have been able to agree with our attorneys that there will be absolutely no expenditure of any taxpayer money for attorneys fees or any expenses of the lawsuit,” Austin added.

The board of commissioners found that the National Institute of Drug Abuse, a division of the National Institute of Health, reports that every day more than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids and found that the misuse of and addiction to opioids, including prescription pain relievers, heroin and synthetic opioids, are a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.

In addition, the board of commissioners found that they have the authority to abate or cause to be abated any public nuisance that interferes with the public health, safety, peace and convenience of their citizens. The board signed a contract to retain national law firms, Baron & Budd, PC from Dallas, Texas; McHugh Fuller Law Group from Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, PA from Pensacola, Florida; Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler, PLLC from Charleston, West Virginia; Greene, Ketchum, Farrell, Bailey & Tweel, LLP from Huntington, West Virginia and local North Carolina law firms, Pinto, Coates, Kyre & Bowers, PLLC, Greensboro, North Carolina; Donald R. Vaughan and Associates, Greensboro, North Carolina; and Garry Whitaker Law, P.C., Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Staff Report