Fulton County filing lawsuit against companies that make, distribute opioids

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Georgia's largest county is filing a lawsuit against companies that make and distribute opioids.

The Vice Chairman of the Fulton County Commission announced a lawsuit against more than a dozen manufacturers as well as scores of distributors.

Fulton County's death rate from opioid abuse is twice the national average. More than 150 opioid-related deaths took place in Fulton County last year alone.

In fact, from 2008 to 2014, Georgia led the nation for the number of patient encounters related to opioids, according to a healthcare consulting firm.

Health experts believe along with northern states, the Southeast has the highest opioid use in the United States.

Fulton county wants to hold drug companies responsible for costs to the government associated with public funded treatments for problems associated with opioids.

Commissioner Bob Ellis said millions in costs are being incurred annually due to the overuse of opioids. Where the county sees mounting expenses includes emergency room visits, rehabilitation services and even the expenditure of portable detox equipment issued to first responders in the event they are called to an overdose situation.

Fulton is the first county in the state to take this step toward legal action.