Bexar County Commissioners pondering law suit against pharmaceutical companies

News 4 at 6pm

SAN ANTONIO---Bexar County Commissioners have asked District Attorney Nico Lahood to look into the possibility of filing a lawsuit against some of the pharmaceutical companies, ones that manufacture pain killers with strong Opioids.

Last year 64,000 people died nationally of opioid overdose, and many of these addictions started with pain killers prescribed by doctors and marketed by pharmaceutical companies.

Melissa Dobbertin, the Director of Admissions & Outpatients at Alpha Home exclaims, "yes I think the pharmaceutical companies have some responsibilities of course. "

Dobbertin has been working in the field for more than 20 years and says opioid abuse can start innocently but is a slippery slope.

"The body becomes dependent on that drug and the body also becomes tolerant to it. This is where the real danger with the opioids come in. So the more I take the more need to take."

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff is leading the charge here to try to find a way to stem opioid abuse.

"We did take it up in executive session this week and we expect to have a report back from the District Attorney hopefully in October 3rd meeting. He's going to be interviewing various lawyers, the tactics, what type of lawsuits, who would we be suing," says Judge Wolff.

At that point the commission will decide whether to proceed with the lawsuit. Judge Wolff says opioids and their derivatives have gone up 3 times from what they were in 2000 so this issue is very important to him.

"I'm very passionate about this. One of our greatest responsibilities as Bexar County Commissioners and County Judge is we fund the Bexar County Hospital District."

And he also says doctors can be a part of the problem as well.

"They do have a responsibility, if they understand what they're doing and are prescribing them then they are at fault also. Many times the pharmaceutical companies maybe doesn't share all of the dangers of it," says Wolff.

Judge Wolff says the commission is working on treatment and education programs and to get across how dangerous these opioids are.

And also training medical personnel on prescribing opioids and working with hospitals on how medications should be administered.

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