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First Coast Connect

3/5/2018: Opioid Lawsuit; Women's Leadership Forum; New Voices

Kevin Meerschaert

Monday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with local attorney Mike Freed about the city of Jacksonville filing a lawsuit against major drug manufacturers over the opioid crisis (01:06).

We were joined by Board President Chris Schwing to discuss this year’s Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum (29:21).

Players by the Sea creative Marketing Manager Bradley Akers and Director Kris Jackson talked about their New Voices program (46:00).    

Opioid Lawsuit

The city of Jacksonville is taking on Big Pharma over the opioid crisis. The city lawsuit, which names Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceuticals, among others, seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory damages, and accuses the companies of negligence, violations of the RICO status and more.

The goal of the lawsuit is to force the drug manufacturers to reimburse the city for the cost of dealing with opioid overdoses and pay for treatment programs. Opioid overdoses kill dozens of people every day around the state and are a public health crisis in Jacksonville and nationwide.

Women’s Leadership Forum

Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony had a lot of interesting moments, but one in particular that stood out was the rousing speech from Best Actress winner Frances McDormand.

McDormand urged her fellow actors to demand “inclusion riders” in their contracts to make sure films they work on, have better racial and gender diversity.

Meanwhile, another call to action is coming up in Jacksonville this week to inspire women to negotiate their worth and navigate their careers to achieve success.

Charting Your Path: The Art of Navigation and Negotiation is the focus for the 7th annual Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum.

New Voices

It’s a chance for young artists between the ages of 13 and 18 to develop their talents as playwrights.

Players By the Sea is taking submissions right now for its New Voices program. Two selected playwrights will embark on a yearlong development process culminating in a fully mounted one-act production from both young playwrights in the Summer of 2019.

Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.