County officials just say no to opioid lawsuits

By The Record | Apr 10, 2018

Remember how self-styled sophisticates howled with laughter when First Lady Nancy Reagan introduced the new slogan for the “War on Drugs” effort back in the 1980s? 

“Just Say No” was just so naive – as if children could be expected to resist temptation, the critics stated!

“[D]rug criminals are ingenious,” Mrs. Reagan said in a 1986 televised address to the nation. “They work everyday to plot a new and better way to steal our children’s lives, just as they’ve done by developing this new drug, crack. For every door that we close, they open a new door to death.”

She concluded,  “Say yes to your life. And when it comes to drugs and alcohol, just say no.” 

Thirty years later, the effectiveness of the “Just Say No” campaign is still debated, but there's no denying that children can say no and stand their ground.

Now might be a good time to revive that much-ridiculed slogan, what with the epidemic of opioid abuse and – in its aftermath – the epidemic of opioid litigation.

County officials can just say no, too, and many of them are doing so, resisting the enticements of plaintiff attorneys peddling opioid lawsuits with visions of huge settlements. Those want-to-be-hired guns can be pretty persistent with their pitches, however, which may mean having to say no multiple times before the dope-suit pushers turn their attention to other prospects.

Last August, Matt Daniel of the Dallas law firm Ferrer Poirot Wansbrough, requested an opportunity to pitch before the Gregg County Commissioners Court “to explain the growing opioid crisis and the way our law firm can help by representing your interests against the distributors who have profited” from opioid abuse.

When his request was rejected, Daniel made an appointment to meet with County Judge Bill Stoudt, which appointment was promptly canceled by Stoudt's executive assistant.

Judges or county officials in Jefferson, Johnson, and Collin Counties have also had to say no repeatedly to similar solicitations.

Here's a hint for all the other pushers out there: No means no.

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