The Nodaway County commissioners met with attorneys from Wagstaff and Cartmell, Kansas City, and agreed to enter into a national opioid lawsuit.

Wagstaff and Cartmell are going up against prescription drug manufacturers and distributors, claiming negligence in prescribing certain drugs to the general population, attributing to the rise of opioid addiction and related deaths.

If they win the case, Nodaway County could see a financial portion of the winnings.

Opioids are used to treat moderate to severe pain that may not respond well to other pain medications.

Opioid drugs work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord and other areas of the body. They reduce pain messages being sent to the brain and reduce feelings of pain.

Opioids include prescribed medications such as codine, methadone and oxycontin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and illegal versions such as heroin.

The company shared some statistics with the commissioners during their presentation including the following:

•The number of opioid sales and deaths have increased significantly, with data from the Drug Enforcement Administration citing prescription painkiller deaths rising from less than 200,000 to 500,000 from the years 2000 to 2012.

•Data from the CDC showed opioid deaths rising from 300,000 to over 1,000,000 from 2001 to 2015.

•The International Narcotics Control Board released a graph showing the United States’ consumption of oxycodone rising to 250 mg/capita in 2012 while Europe’s usage was less than 25 mg/capita in the same year.

•The President’s Commission On Combating Drug Addiction stated there were more Americans dying each year to drug overdose than gun homicides and car crashes combined. It also stated the amount of opioids prescribed in our country, “is enough for every American to be medicated around the clock for three weeks.”