County Wants Painkiller Producer To Pay

By: Heather Haley Email
By: Heather Haley Email

Officials say it's led to widespread addiction and misery throughout Pike County.

They want the company who makes the powerful painkiller OxyContin to pay.

It has been nearly a month since three former pharmaceutical executives with the company Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, pleaded guilty to misleading the public.

Officials in Pike County say their residents have had to deal with death and trauma due to the drug.

“We have a reputation of being the OxyContin capital of America and we're tired of it,” Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said.

Pike County officials say numerous lives have been lost along with devastation and heartbreak all because of the painkiller OxyContin.

“Millions of dollars have been spent caused by the scourge we've had in OxyContin,” Rutherford said.

Officials with the Pike County Fiscal Court have decided to have a lawyer investigate potential legal action against the manufacturer of OxyContin.

Pike County Sheriff Charles Keesee spoke to the fiscal court about the financial strain that OxyContin has put on his department.

“OxyContin is one of the most addictive drugs we have on the market today and a lot of people, no doubt, have gotten addicted to this drug,” Pike County Sheriif Charles Keesee said.

Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford says Gary C. Johnson will act as their attorney and he has already begun his research into the possible lawsuit.

Officials say they would like to have the lawsuit heard in the county so Pike County residents can be on the jury.

“We've just had so many deaths, we can't develop this county until we solve this problem,” Judge Rutherford said.

The three former Purdue Pharma executives are already set to pay more than six hundred and thirty million dollars in the federal suit.

Pike County will see if they can begin a law suit of their own to fix what they call the damage OxyContin has done to the county.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by karole Location: newyork on Jun 18, 2008 at 06:32 PM
    iwould like to sue these drug c o
  • by RuThaNn Location: KY on Jun 7, 2007 at 05:34 AM
    What is this ... Bash Eastern Ky! We all live in this wonderful state and the truth is that this drug epidemic is state wide! I think that the problem lies in the drug dealers and these pain clinics. With the two, you can get whatever it is you are needing. You can't go around sueing everyone, I agree but, we do have to do something ..... we have to try and save the future kids!
  • by renee Location: williamsburg. on Jun 6, 2007 at 08:39 PM
    oxycontin is all over ky. so many people have gotten addicted and died from it. my neighbor did. he was 28 yrs old with 3 kids. it should be used for cancer patients. purdue knew about the drug. they mislead everyone.
  • by Learnt hillbilly Location: Tennessee on Jun 6, 2007 at 04:51 PM
    Ralph from Pikeville I justed moved back to E. Tenn. from Nashville and anyone who believes drug addiction is worse or equal in large cities to the problem we have here are badly mistaken. I am 28 and just out of the college scene. Please look at the income of young adults in this area and the skill level of jobs and you will understand why education levels come into many peoples arguements.
  • by Eddie Location: Pikeville on Jun 6, 2007 at 04:04 PM
    Jako, thanks for seeing what I am saying. In response to the anonymous poster regarding "pay who?", a couple of points I'd like to make. First, I believe the idea behind the potential lawsuit is to recoup the money expended by law enforcement to combat the problem, as well as to potentially develop and fund treatment centers. Ideally, if they were able to be successful in this lawsuit, the money should be pooled and then disbursed (much like the coal severance tax you "Central Kentuckians" have had the largest share of the pie of over the past couple of decades) in a more equal manner to facilitate each county being responsible for their own money. I would submit that applications for their share of the funds from the pool could be made by each city/county, which would require that they show a plan for the expenditure of the funds. Trust me, if someone goes and blows the funds on a city/county swimming pool instead of a treatment facility or reimbursement of law enforcement expenditures for undercover police and the like, the media is SURE to pick up on it quickly like they do everything else. I do not believe that the doctors (unless involved in being part of a prescribing mill) should be pursued at this point because it appears they were the front-line of those duped by Purdue Pharma's executives. Don't confuse me with being a liberal welfare lover, but I do believe in this case, given the circumstances, that this may be a wholly legitimate lawsuit.
  • by Robert Location: Pike on Jun 6, 2007 at 03:45 PM
    The problem is that for some reason people in Pike county don't wan't to report their neighbors that are drug dealers . In many other parts of the country people are more willing to report them . Sometimes the drug dealers are relatives or friends . One big problem is we all say well they are not bothering me . Yes they are with thefts, violence ,increased car traffic that endangers your children playing near the roads ,loss in residential property value because your property sells for less or not at all if your neighbors are drug dealers . Some may say well we are scared . In this part of the country there are so many guns in our homes the drug dealers should be scared . We are though more willing to shoot burglars now that break in while we are home so they can get money for drugs . People are dying all over from drug related car accidents and violence .
  • by Anonymous Location: Tenn on Jun 6, 2007 at 02:56 PM
    We want lower medical expense and lower taxes but this lawsuit proves that we are incapable of caring for ourselves so we will us lawsuits to discourage drug companies from pursueing new pharmacutical cures. This lawsuit also incourages a larger government so they can care for us when we are unwilling to care for ourselves because BIG- MEAN drug companies are making(?) us use their drugs. To sum up, we are consumers and have the responsibility to care for ourselves. Would you eat something without knowing what it is? Why do we take prescription drugs without asking why,when, and for how long?
  • by johnny Location: harlan on Jun 6, 2007 at 02:11 PM
    if people wantoff drugs there is help out there drug companys dont force people to get hooked on them maby doctors should not giv them so frelly only to them that realy need them insted of any pain they have
  • by Melissa Location: Pikeville on Jun 6, 2007 at 01:58 PM
    I cannot believe how insulting some of these comments are. What you people in the "other" part of the state forget, is that once YOU step out of the borders of this great Commonwealth, your're from "Kentucky" too. People look at you the same no matter what part of the state your from.
  • by Anonymous Location: ky on Jun 6, 2007 at 12:42 PM
    I disagree with half of the lawsuit cause it should go after all of the doctors that prescribed this med's to patients that doesnt even have any cance related issues and they should also be accounted for this outbreak. The doctors are the ones who prescribe these med's anyway.
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