COVINGTON -- Every day, upwards of 150 people walk into the doors of the main clinic for Florida Parishes Human Services Authority.
A third of the appointments are for addiction treatment, with one thing becoming the most common source.
"There's definitely been a market uptick in the amount of people coming in for opioid treatment over the past and that trend existed prior to me being here," said Executive Director Richard Kramer, who's held the position for the last year. "The data shows it's continuing and it's speeding up a bit."
That's why the City of Covington has gotten involved in asking the courts to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the countless deaths from their products. Last year, 74 people died from overdoses in St. Tammany Parish. Seventy-five percent of those were opioid-related.
The suit, which includes other governmental agencies from Florida to New York and Texas to Minnesota, calls for a reimbursement of all of the costs associated with fighting opioid addictions and overdoses.
Covington was first on the Northshore to make opioid-reversing drug, Narcan, available to its law enforcement officers.
"We wanted to be on the forefront because we recognize the problem here and we're probably ahead of the curve when it comes to recognition of the problem that we're having," said Covington Mayor Mike Cooper. He says there's no cost to be part of the litigation.
The City of Covington may seem like a small player in a big game, but leaders there say the experiences they see every single day qualifies them to be in the lineup.
"For example, last night we had an overdose in Covington," said Police Chief Tim Lentz. "We administered two doses of Narcan to bring the person back. There's a cost to that Narcan. We put them in an ambulance. Bring them to the hospital. Ambulance has a cost to it, the hospital has a cost to it. So yea, I think at the end of the day, the manufacturers of these opioids are responsible and they should be made to pay."
And regardless of legal outcome, city leaders hope to at least see the action put people before profits.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has said in a prior statement to Eyewitness News, regarding lawsuits like this, that it is part of an effort to accelerate the development of non-opioid pain medications. The organization also said it supports policies limiting the supply of opioids to seven days for acute pain.