Cherokee Nation Sues Drug Distributors As Opioid Epidemic Affects Children And Teenagers

By Abbie Kraft, Parent Herald April 25, 11:19 pm
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Cherokee Nation blames big pharma for the opioid overdose epidemic. PICTURED: Activists and family members of loved ones who died in the opioid/heroin epidemic march in a 'Fed Up!' rally at Capitol Hill on Sept. 18, 2016 in Washington, DC.
(Photo : John Moore/Getty Images)

Opioid consumption is starting to become an epidemic as opioid-related death continentally increase each day. The death toll causes an alarm among the Cherokee Nation wherein they sued drug distributors over the opioid crisis.

Health care providers are starting to worry about the alarming opioid-related death overdoses that drastically increase over the years. A person dies of an opioid overdose every 19 minutes, which means that a child could possibly lose his parents, sibling or a loved one. Opioid overdose does not only affect the victim, but it also impacts the mental and emotional health of the people who cared for them.

The increasing death toll due to opioid prompted the Cherokee Nation to file a lawsuit against pharmacies and other distributors, according to CNN. Fields, special counsel to the attorney general of the Cherokee Nation, explains that large volume of opioids are being distributed in the Cherokee territory, and it needs to be stopped. "The brunt of the epidemic could have been, and should have been, prevented by the defendant companies," the lawsuit claims.

The Cherokee Nation lawsuit involves thousands of dollars, including action and medical treatments (especially for babies with opioid traces). Child welfare is also included in the expenses with a budget allotted for the children with drug-depended parents that cannot support them.

"As we fight this epidemic in our hospitals, our schools, and our Cherokee homes, we will also use our legal system to make sure the companies, who put profits over people while our society is crippled by this epidemic, are held responsible for their actions," Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker in a statement, as cited in CBS.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns the consumers as drug overdoses quadrupled since 1999. Most of the areas that are highly affected include where the Cherokee Nation is located, affecting white and Native Americans. Opioid-related deaths also affect teens as young as 16 and newborn babies with opioids in their system due to the parental consumption.

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