Benton County Joins Opioid Lawsuit

BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- Benton County has joined 70 other counties in the state in the lawsuit against opioid manufactures and distributors.

The lawsuit was filed by the Association of Arkansas Counites and Benton is the last county in our area to join the suit.

Arkansas counties aren`t the only ones involved in this lawsuit, there are more than 100 cities as well as a lot of other states across the nation who are also part of this lawsuit.

Benton County Judge Barry Moehring said it is significant to show a united front across almost every county in the state.

“They`ve had damaging effects across Benton County and across a lot of rural Arkansas and in some cases it`s hit close to home and this sends a message to those folks that different states and counties are serious about doing something about this issue,” he said.

He said opioids impact more people than you may expect.

“Just about everybody I talk to now knows a family that`s been affected by this and the practical effects from a government level is you have an increased number of people who are affected that you have to call ambulances, even the coroner for, increased emergency room visits,” he said.

Moehring said some of these drugs are so potent that emergency responders are having to undergo special training to treat patient who have taken these drugs.

“We`re having to have special substances on our ambulances and on our patrol cars now to deal with it. And so we are actually having to take a lot of extra precautions as a result of this crisis that we weren`t having to take in the past,” he said.

In Benton County the number of opioid overdoses actually dropped from 2010 to 2016 but the CDC expects the number to increase.

The only other Arkansas counties to not yet join the lawsuit are Pulaski, Jefferson, Drew and Crittenden.