Alabama schools will receive a $6.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to improve access to substance abuse treatment and mental health services as part of an effort to curb the nation’s opioid epidemic.
HHS is awarding the grants to community centers and rural groups across the country to fight the opioid crisis. In 2017, more than 70,000 people died from opioid overdoses – a rate of 21.7 per 100,000 people. Alabama was hit particularly hard, with more than 5,100 overdose deaths from 2006 to 2014.
More than two dozen cities and counties in Alabama have joined other municipalities across the country to fight back against the opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies that helped fuel the crisis. In December 2017, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized hundreds of the lawsuits in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Ohio under U.S. District Judge Aaron Polster.
The drug makers are being accused of overstating the benefits of their highly addictive pain killers while downplaying the risks. Distributors and pharmacies are blamed for failing to monitor and report suspicious drug orders to authorities.
Beasley Allen attorneys are representing multiple local governments in Alabama and other states against opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies to hold them responsible for the overdose deaths and the economic damages caused by their actions. The firm is also working to represent individuals and families who have suffered personal injuries and deaths due to the opioid epidemic.