Louisville is standing firm and sending a clear message to drug distributors by filing a lawsuit that demands they pay for the city's widespread opiate overdose epidemic. One man knows the horrors of the overdose epidemic from firsthand experience. Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell lost his youngest son to an overdose in 2014. Matt O'Connell was a former military paratrooper who was found dead in his car after an overdose. A post mordem toxicology report found alcohol, cocaine and heroine all in his system at the time of his death.
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<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit WDRB.com</span>
O'Connell described what he felt after his son was found dead, "It's a whole bag of emotions. The grief never goes away. That's a loss – that is, a void – that you cannot describe." Now he is supporting a lawsuit against the nation's biggest drug distributors, among those listed in the suit are McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen. O'Connell went on to say, "This lawsuit in some ways is a chance at justice for my son Matt, and countless other families who have been decimated by the opioid plague." The lawsuit claims that the drug distributors failed at their job of acting as gatekeepers and allowing pills like Oxycodone and hydrocodone to flood the city streets. The suit is seeking hundreds of millions from each distributor and is funded by Levin Papantonio out of Florida in return for a share of any money awarded by the courts.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer weighed in on the subject saying, "It's time for the companies who started this epidemic and turned a blind eye to its consequences to take responsibility for the devastation that they've caused." Authorities say that from the period of 2012 to 2017, more than 197 million doses of prescription opioids were prescribed in Jefferson County alone. To put that number in perspective, that is more than 258 doses of prescription opioids for every man, woman and child in Louisville. Authorities also estimate the total economic burden caused by the nationwide epidemic to be $78.5 billion in addition to the cost of human lives. Louisville Mayor Fischer summed up the epidemic in a single sentence, "We have lost a generation of people to opioids."
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