Cherokee residents filed a lawsuit in tribal court on Wednesday, charging the nation’s largest manufacturers and distributors of prescription drugs with negligence and causing a deadly epidemic of addiction among their Native American customers. The lawsuit, filed by Cherokee residents in federal court in Cherokee, charges the retailers and manufacturers of various pharmaceuticals with violating the health and safety regulations set forth by the Food and Drug Administration. The suit, filed against pharmaceutical manufacturers by a Cherokee woman named T.T. Crawford, seeks compensation for the pain and suffering she has suffered since the outbreak of her addiction.
Cherokee Resident Terri Taylor
In June of 2020, Cherokee resident Terri Taylor received two prescriptions for pain medication at the local Wal-Mart pharmacy. Both prescriptions contained hydrocodone, an addictive narcotic analgesic that has been linked to deaths related to an overdose.
According to the lawsuit, Terri became addicted to hydrocodone after using it without seeking help from her doctor. She also obtained hydrocodone and other prescription medications without being diagnosed with a substance abuse problem. Despite the fact that she was experiencing serious physical pain. The lawsuit states that Cherokee residents are being “swamped” with prescription drug users. Moreover, that the tribe has failed to protect its citizens from this devastating plague.
Cherokee Resident Michael Johnson
Cherokee resident Michael Johnson died of a heart attack in January of 2020 after suffering from chronic pain patients. Johnson’s death is not being blamed on hydrocodone. But instead on the legal system that allowed him to be prescribed the addictive narcotic despite his past drug addiction history. Johnson was arrested for a series of drug offenses in January, including possession of heroin and possessing hydrocodone.
According to the lawsuit, Cherokee residents have an obligation to care for their communities. Moreover, the Nation is responsible for protecting its citizens from toxic chemicals. Tribal authorities need to enforce the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rules and regulations. It provides the requisite education for their citizens.
The suit states that Cherokee authorities allowed illegal drug activity to take place in their communities. Moreover, they failed to take any meaningful action when dealers began selling drugs to Native American people. In addition to the dangers that exist with prescription drugs. The lawsuit argues that Cherokee authorities failed to provide adequate access to treatment for their addicted population. This left them vulnerable to addiction.
According to the lawsuit, Authorities have not provided the proper education or training to tribal members regarding the dangers of pharmaceuticals, nor did they warn their members about the dangers of prescription drugs. According to the complaint, the tribe allowed doctors to prescribe the highly addictive drugs to their clients without any medical training or supervision. Doctors may also prescribe hydrocodone to their patients. As a replacement for more costly over-the-counter pain medications without the knowledge or approval of their doctor. The complaint also states that officials allowed pharmacies to purchase bulk quantities of hydrocodone. It allowed local retailers to sell the drugs at reduced rates to individuals.
According to the complaint, the defendants in the case have ignored warnings from residents and the Cherokee Tribal Law Enforcement Officers about the dangers of improperly filled prescriptions and allowed pharmacies to fill hundreds of prescriptions at one time. The complaint also says that the defendants allowed pharmacies to dispense hydrocodone to their clients even if the drugs had not yet been approved by the FDA, in an effort to obtain the highest possible price for the drugs.
Although a number of pharmaceutical companies have been removed from the marketplace for misdeeds including prescription fraud and drug distribution, Cherokee residents still face a potentially devastating threat from prescription drug addiction. Because of this, many Cherokee residents are seeking legal counsel and other resources to combat these dangers and obtain the assistance they need.
A Cherokee plaintiff who wants to fight back against the dangers of prescription drug abuse should contact an attorney who specializes in cases concerning prescription drug abuse.