The Whitley County Fiscal Court recently entered executive session to discuss pending litigation relating to the opioid litigation.
In 2017, the Whitley County Fiscal Court became part of a multi-county suit against the three largest wholesale distributors of prescription opioids, which had a combined market share of 85 percent in 2017.
Between 2013 and the middle of 2017, more than 21 million doses of prescription opioids, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, tramadol and oxymorphone, were dispensed in Whitley County, which has a population of about 36,000 people.
This is more than 584 doses of prescription opioids for every man, woman and child in Whitley County. During this same time period, more than 1.9 million doses of medications, which are often used as overdose antidotes, such as naloxone, have been dispensed in Whitley County. This averages out to 54 doses per person.
The 2017 lawsuit alleges that the three companies breached their duties under the law to investigate suspicious orders and halt them, which has largely contributed to an opioid epidemic across the state.
Other lawsuits have been filed against the three companies. Because of the number of suits that have been filed, it was unclear as to which opioid litigation the executive session referred too.
In other business, the fiscal court unanimously approved:
- The disbursement schedules of the airport board, coroner, and sheriff.
- The budget of the Whitley County Industrial Development Authority.
- A contract with the Whitley County Health Department for the fiscal year July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. The health department provides services such as TB skin tests, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccinations for county employees. The contract has been a recurring agreement for several years.
- A service agreement with Johnson Controls for the fire alarm system in the court house. The agreement is required under building code standards and has existed for several years.
- The Airport Coronavirus Response Grant Program. This is a relatively large grant that the airport is working on, explained Whitley County Judge Executive Pat White during the meeting. It involves the City of Williamsburg since it is a party on the airport. The grant is around $2 million for some hangars that are planning to be built. There is no financial obligation for the fiscal court. They have been working on this project for some time.
- An agreement with the administrative office of the courts, formerly known as the Blue Form, since the state leases the judicial center from the fiscal court.
- A resolution giving the funds received from the Tennessee Valley Authority to the Whitley County Industrial Development Authority. White said that these are the funds for which the fiscal court lobbied.