Mobile County has joined a growing class action lawsuit against several top drug manufacturers and distributors for their alleged role in creating the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis.

On Thursday, County Commissioners cast a unanimous vote to enter into a contract with a trio of law firms including the Mobile-based personal injury law firm of Taylor-Martino.

Like the Mobile Infirmary and the city of Mobile before it, the county expects its forthcoming lawsuit to be swept up into a ballooning class action that’s been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland, Ohio along with nearly 200 other cases.

One thing separating the county’s claim, however, is its operation of the Metro Jail. Discussing the impending lawsuit recently, Mobile Sheriff Sam Cochran said the majority of Metro inmates are there because of drug abuse and a significant portion of those are opioid abusers or former users who’ve turned to heroin.

Speaking to attorney Steve Martino, Commissioner Jerry Carl, who himself has a background in the pharmaceutical business, said the jail would be a focus of the lawsuit because it’s where the county has and will continue to suffer the most.

“I own a pharmacy and understand the importance of following federal law. We are in business to help people get well, not to turn them into addicts,” Carl said. “Manufacturers and distributors who skirt the law and ignore reporting larger, suspicious shipments month after month have created this problem and must be held responsible.”