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City of Joplin Joins Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers - KOAM TV 7

City of Joplin Joins Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers

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     The City of Joplin is joining a number of other communities across the country in a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers.
Ashley Micklethwaite has been fighting the opioid epidemic for months - working hard to provide resources to those in need.
Now, the city of Joplin is joining a lawsuit against those companies that manufacture the very opioids she's been fighting.
Ashley Micklethwaite, One Joplin Director: "The pharmaceutical companies know that the game is up and the medical knows the game is up, so everyone is taking a very close look at how pain medication is prescribed, and how we treat pain now."
Captain Trevor Duncan with the Joplin Police Department tells us it's certainly a step in the right direction, a much needed step.
Captain Trevor Duncan, Joplin Police Department: "As a police department we can't solve this problem by ourselves, it's a major problem, that's really going to take a lot of effort from a lot of different people and working together hopefully we can make progress on it."
As for first responders, METS has actually seen a *decrease* in their use of Narcan for overdose calls.
But officials with METS say that decrease, can be deceiving, and comes with a word of caution.
Matt Watts, METS Paramedic/Battalion Chief: "It could be both, either they don't call for Narcan, or they've overdosed on so much medication the Narcan will work briefly and we would need to give a follow up dose, and even the hospital would have to give follow up doses."
If the lawsuit is ultimately won, Micklethwait says the city must take care with how they handle any money they receive.
Micklethwaite: "Yes, I think it will make a difference, if that money is used to help our police officers and first responders to bolster how we respond to people who need help."
     Joining the lawsuit comes at no cost to the city.
     The contract only requires the city to pay if the lawsuit is won.

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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