SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Summerville town council gathered in a last-minute meeting on Friday where council members voted unanimously to join a class action lawsuit against drug makers for the opioid crisis.
In July, Charleston County and the city of North Charleston did the same. These counties and municipalities are suing over the damage pain pills have done both monetarily and in lives lost across the country.
DHEC reports at least 28 people died in Dorchester County in 2017 from an overdose. The town attorney, G.W. Parker, said from 2006-2012, over 35 million opioid prescription pills were supplied to Dorchester County.
“What we’re concerned with, is they’ve just inundated Dorchester County," Mayor Wiley Johnson said about opioids. “They have harmed the people of Dorchester County and Summerville. We’re becoming part of the lawsuit suing for damages.”
The town will be represented by Sandy Senn, who is also a South Carolina senator. Council moved quickly to join as a plaintiff because Senn expects the federal judge to make ruling on Monday.
Johnson said he’s not sure how much money the town could get if the ruling was made in the town’s favor. Johnson said he wants any money that comes in to go towards solving the opioid problem.
“That’s my desire, to just help the people of Summerville and Dorchester County and not just take the money and dump in the general fund. That’s not right. What we need to do is help solve the problem with that money," Johnson added.
Earlier this month, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson filed a lawsuit against three major opioid distributors. The state’s lawsuit named McKesson, Cardinal and Amerisource Bergen as defendants, alleging they violated the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act and created a public nuisance.