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franklin county times

Russellville joins fight against opioid crisis

The “opioid crisis,” or as some people are calling it, an “epidemic,” has swept the United States and is at the forefront of a lot of legislators’ and politicians’ minds. Russellville has now joined this movement to fight back against the “crisis.”

At the Feb. 19 Russellville City Council meeting, city attorney Danny McDowell brought before the council the request from attorney Jeff Friedman to represent Russellville in the claims being made against opioid manufacturers because of their marketing. Friedman is a part of the Friedman, Dazzio, Zulanas & Bowling P.C. law firm in Birmingham.

McDowell said several suits are being filed across 40 states and many counties and cities.

“This is a multidistrict litigation that will be put through a judge in Ohio,” McDowell explained.

The council voted to approve Mayor David Grissom signing the request from Friedman, which is based on a one-third contingency plan. According to McDowell, that means if Friedman doesn’t recover anything, the city owes him nothing, but if he does recover something, then he will receive one-third of the payout.

“There is a worry that if they do restrict the distribution of painkillers, people will resort to other drugs like heroin,” McDowell said. To combat that, some plaintiffs are hoping to add in to the new rules that money be provided to police departments to handle the potential rise in those drug crimes.

Other actions by the city council included:

  • Approved the Russellville Police Department to hire Kelsey Bullock as a dispatcher.
  • Declared a vacancy for a patrol officer in the RPD.
  • Approved the RPD to hire patrol officers Derek Henderson, Josh Tompkins, David Romans, Krista McLennon and Adan Abarco.
  • Declared a vacancy for a dispatcher in the RPD.
  • Approved the promotion of Chris Watkins as EMS officer in the Russellville Fire Department.
  • Approved the promotion of maintenance/programmers Carrie Dover and Fredrick Mosley in the Russellville Parks and Recreation Department.
  • Approved the hiring of Charles Ross Chard as maintenance worker in the Russellville Parks and Recreation Department.
  • Authorized the RFD to advertise to solicit bids for the purchase of a 2018 Ford F350 4X4 crew cab 160” wheel base and to solicit bids for the trade-in of a 2006 Ford F350 crew cab 4X4 dually. The dually was purchased several years ago through Homeland Security and has required more money in maintenance than they purchased it for, according to Chief Joe Mansell. Fire Marshal Justin Green said that Homeland Security will let them use the entire amount they received for the dually toward the purchase of the new truck.
  • Approved the purchase of a copier from Xerox for the Russellville Public Library at a total of $2,920 after RPL received a $1,000 grant from the Franklin County Community Development Committee.
  • Approved the request from the Russellville City School Foundation of Board of Directors to waive the rental fee of the A.W. Todd Centre on April 23 for the annual fundraising dinner.
  • Approved the request from the Russellville High School Baseball Team to waive the rental fee of the A.W. Todd Centre Feb. 10 for the annual Valentine Drawdown dinner.