CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) – The opioid epidemic continues to blaze a path of destruction across the country, and almost no other state has been as negatively impacted as West Virginia. But a case being tried right now in the Southern District Federal Court could help turn the tide.
Local attorney Bob Fitzsimmons is assisting with a case brought against three entities, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and drug wholesaler McKesson. They’re suing on behalf of Cabell County and the city of Huntington.
They allege that those three companies flooded an area of about 90-thousand residents with MILLIONS of opioid pills, which caused a wave of drug addiction and death. Around 2014 and 2015 when the distribution was decreased, the residents, now addicted to opioids, turned to heroin and fentanyl, causing even more damage.
We spoke with Fitzsimmons, who explained to us how the opioid epidemic even changed views he once held about addiction.
“I remember years and years ago, I always thought people that were drug users and stuff like that were like bad people. And the more I’ve learned about it and addictions, it’s a disease. It’s just like diabetes, it’s just like a heart disease. It’s one of those things that just happens. And the families, it affects families whether they’re good people, or bad people. It doesn’t make a difference.”Bob Fitzsimmons, Attorney
Right now we’re about three weeks into the case, and Fitzsimmons expects another 6 for the trial before the judge rules, then the appeal process will begin. If Fitzsimmons and the other attorneys win this case, they tell us the money would go towards treatment and research for opiod addiction.
Stay with 7NEWS and WTRF.com for updates on this case as it moves forward, and many of other similar cases in both the tri-state area, and across the country.