At Monday night’s Salem City Council meeting, council members voted unanimously, with Councilman James Martin, absent to hire a legal team to look at options.

The pending retainer agreement is with firms of Sandford Heisler Sharp LLP and Kaufman & Canoles P.C. Salem would pay no fees unless the firms win cases for the localities they are representing against big pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, and dealers, Salem City Attorney Steve Yost explained.

Salem, like Roanoke County and Roanoke City, hope to recoup some money to pay for police and EMS, social services, courts and other agencies’ time and expenditures caused by dealing with opioid drug cases.

The legal team would help Salem analyze damages associated with opioid drug cases such as Oxycontin and would represent Salem in court, Yost said.

The number of cases of deaths, injuries, neglected children, burglaries and other crimes has risen throughout Virginia so much that the state’s Health Commissioner has declared the Commonwealth’s opioid addiction problem a public health emergency, the council’s resolution noted.

In June, the Virginia attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit against…

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