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Phenix City prepares to prevent the opioid crisis

LaPorsche Thomas, Digital Content Producer & Justin Holbrock - Phenix City, Ala (WRBL) -- One Alabama city is attempting to take action against the opioid crisis.

On Tuesday, the Phenix City City Council approved a resolution to file a class action lawsuit against pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

Two counselors and Mayor Eddie Lowe voted to approve the resolution. One of the counselors was out sick and the district two seat is empty. The special election fill the seat takes place Tuesday.

 

In 2015, Alabama prescribed more opioids than any other state in the country, according to the CDC.

With today's vote, Phenix City is joining the fight against opioids, which one local man knows all too well.

"Things are great now but it was very challenging coming out of it at the time," recovering opioid addict John Burdeshaw said.

For 20 years, Burdeshaw struggled with addiction including heroin, meth and whatever pills he could get. He's in his third year of recovery, which seemed impossible during the darkest days of his addiction.

"Eventually I lost everything and battled homelessness and deep addiction and went to rehab," he said. "It's been a long road but it's been well worth it."

Burdeshaw met his wife Christi in rehab while she was fighting addiction as well. The couple first spoke with News 3 in November for a special report on the opioid crisis.

"My family was devastated," Christi Burdeshaw said. "The different times they had to come to court hearings and I was in shackles and a jumpsuit, and I think though that they almost felt better when I was in jail because at least they knew I wasn't going to die."

News 3 followed up with John on Monday after Phenix City passed the resolution.

"I would like to encourage other cities to get on board and get ahead of it," John Burdeshaw said. "Be proactive and help slow things down before they get started."

Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe agrees.

"You know the number one thing of any council of any leaders of the city is safety and the well being of others," Mayor Lowe said. "That's part of the reason why we've decided to do that resolution and sign off on it."


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