Little Rock, ARK — Cory Watson Attorney Jerome Tapley was awarded the prestigious Arkansas Traveler title at the 88th convention of the Arkansas Municipal League last week in Little Rock, Ark, for his contributions in helping fight the state’s raging opioid epidemic.
The award, “expresses the state’s special recognition to out-of-state visitors who have contributed to the progress, enjoyment or well-being of the State of Arkansas or to her people. When one receives this beautiful certificate, they become an ambassador for our great state.”
Previous Arkansas Traveler recipients include Ronald Reagan, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Muhammad Ali, and more well-known and influential figures in history.
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“Clients often say thank you after a good result is achieved; the good folks of Arkansas said thank you in a way that just blows me away.”, ” Tapley said. “It is always rewarding professionally when we can use our education and training as lawyers to vindicate the rights of good people, those folks in Arkansas are as good as they come.”
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The opioid epidemic has been a nationwide issue – with over 70% of nationwide drug deaths involving opioids from 2013 to 2019 – and it has hit Arkansas particularly hard. In 2020, 500 Arkansans died from drug overdoses – up a staggering 195% from the previous year, and opioids are at the forefront.
In 2017, Arkansas dealt 114.6 opioid prescriptions per 100 people – the 2nd-most per capita of any state nationwide.
In 2021, the State of Arkansas along with the counties and cities of Arkansas reached a $216 million settlement to be split between cities, counties, and the state for those in treatment battling addiction, education on the dangers of opioids, and future prevention of opioid use.
Since 2000, deaths involving opioids have increased by 200% in the U.S. Up to 40% of deaths involved a prescription opioid.
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The opioid litigation has been at the forefront for Cory Watson Attorneys, who have led the charge on the groundbreaking litigation battle in Arkansas. Tapley has worked hand-in-hand with county, city, and state officials in representing the people of Arkansas in the fight against the opioid epidemic. 100% of Arkansas’ population is represented in the settlement, with 75 counties and 500 cities participating.
“This recognition is a testament to all of the hard work our attorneys and staff dedicate to each and every client,” Cory Watson founding partner Leila Watson said. “We are honored to fight for justice on behalf of Arkansans who were needlessly harmed by opioid use.”
Topics presented during the convention included further updates on Arkansas’ opioid litigation and settlements, along with how other states have allocated opioid settlement funds. Tapley was joined at the Municipal League Convention by co-panelists Kirk Lane, Arkansas Drug Director, and Greg Wilkerson, General Counsel of the Arkansas Municipal League.
The lawyers at Cory Watson will help combat the opioid manufacturers who have raked in billions in profits at the expense of devastated families and communities across the country. The attorneys argue that it will cost Arkansas cities and counties billions to stop the Arkansas opioid epidemic, and that the companies that aggressively marketed the opioids should foot the bill instead of the taxpayers.
About Cory Watson Attorneys
Cory Watson Attorneys is a nationally recognized personal injury law firm with offices in Birmingham, Alabama; Memphis, and Nashville, Tennessee. The firm has recovered more than $3 billion for clients across the country. Cory Watson Attorneys are frequently at the forefront of major class actions and multidistrict litigations involving dangerous pharmaceuticals and product liability, and are often appointed to leadership positions in national cases. Firm practice areas include Personal Injury, Product Liability, Class Action, Asbestos, Business & Commercial Litigation, Dangerous Pharmaceuticals, Defective Medical Devices, and Environmental/Toxic Torts. To learn more, visit CoryWatson.com.
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