Today, Mayor Gahan shared information about the opioid crisis:
Over the last few years, concerns of heavy opioid prescription use in the area prompted the City of New Albany to enter into a class action lawsuit (2017) against the major distributors of opioids. Later, the lawsuit was modified to include some major and minor retailers in and around Floyd County and beyond.
In late July, The Washington Post released a study which confirmed Floyd County, IN is one of the worst Counties in the United States for prescription opioid use.
Link to full Washington Post Article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/dea-pain-pill-database/
47.1 Million (47,106,936 to be exact) is the number of prescription pain pills that entered Floyd County from 2006 to 2012. That is 91.6 pills per person per year. In 2016, Floyd County had the highest prescription rate for opioids (132 prescriptions per 100 residents) when compared with Clark and Harrison counties (in.gov/recovery/1054.htm).
The City of New Albany has already taken an important step by bringing legal action against the manufacturers and distributors. Floyd County officials, unfortunately, have opted to not join the lawsuit against opioid distributors. I am urging county leaders to recognize this problem and join the lawsuit. Now that we have solid data concerning the problem, we need to do more as a community.
Yesterday, an Oklahoma judge ruled that Johnson and Johnson helped fuel the state’s opioid drug crisis, and fined the company $572 million. This landmark decision is expected to have impacts on other lawsuits throughout the country, including our own.
Over the past few weeks, I have met with public and health officials, industry professionals, and attorneys, including Dr. Tom Harris with the Floyd County Health Department, Dr. Daniel Eichenberger with Baptist Health Floyd, our local public safety team, and others. I have also reached out to the head pharmacists of Walgreen’s and other local distributors.
This is a county crisis and a national epidemic, brought on by reckless distribution of opioids which possess properties that bring addiction to some of our most vulnerable family members and friends. To help bring attention to this issue, our Board of Works has approved 2 awareness walks - one in September, and one in November.
If you are suffering from addiction brought on by prescription use, please contact your physician. If someone you know is addicted to prescribed opioids please encourage them to contact their doctor or call for help. Here are some additional resources that may be of help:
Indiana Addiction Hotline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Call 2-1-1. (2-1-1 is a simple way to connect to food, shelter, and housing assistance, counseling resources, and more throughout Indiana)
Our Place Drug and Alcohol Services: https://www.ourplaceinc.org/
Saturday September 14 @ 1pm - The Breakaway / Our Place: SoIN Faces of Addiction Walk in Downtown New Albany.
Saturday November 9 @ 9am – Floyd Memorial Foundation’s 3rd Annual Stop Addiction Walk at the Riverfront Amphitheater