Will Ector County join Opioid Epidemic lawsuits?

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ECTOR COUNTY -- The Opioid Epidemic is sweeping the nation and Ector County is no exception.

There are more than 40 million Opioid users in America. Studies show of those 40 million, 16 million Americans are fully addicted or dependent on the drugs. Opioids are painkillers like Oxycontin and Hydrocodone.

Several lawsuits have surfaced across the country slamming drug manufacturers and distributors. Now, law firms want Ector County to join the civil action suit.

Ector County Commissioner Greg Simmons acknowledges the problem.

"Opioid abuse is rampant, we're not immune here in Ector County we know that we've had accidental overdoses, we have treatment of addiction that's taken place here in the community," Commissioner Simmons said.

The Opioid Epidemic is an almost $79 billion problem each year and it's costing Ector County money as well.

"There are costs associated with the county whether it be law enforcement and trying to maintain control of the abuse out there. We have inmates that are addicts that commit crimes in order to get the additional drugs," Simmons said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the drug overdose death rate for Ector County is 16 to 18 people per 100,000 each year. Two thirds of those people overdose on Opioid's.

Ector County Commissioner's say the next step is to review everything with the Sheriff and all affected parties to see if this is something they want to pursue.