Local governments set up systems for opioid settlement money

Local governments are laying the groundwork so they can dole out a historical settlement over the opioid crisis.

Ohio had forged an $808 million agreement in 2021 with the three largest distributors of opioids, Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen.

While the money doesn’t add up to the the toll of the massive public health crisis, it is intended to help with some of the ongoing damage. From 2010 to 2019, opioid overdoses claimed the lives of more than 23,700 Ohioans, with countless others having had their lives torn apart by opioid addiction in other ways.

It’s not clear when the money will start to be distributed. Details are still forming day-to-day on how the money will be handled, as the state and each region develops their committees and boards.

The state has been carved up into 19 regions.

There’s also a state board selecting projects that are submitted for approval.

The settlement, which is scheduled to be paid over 18 years, also calls for a continuous annual flow of settlement money, meaning that the distributors can pay extra in a given year, but that additional money will come off the back end so that there is no disruption of payments.

OneOhio, the state’s plan to jointly approach settlement negotiations and litigation with the drug manufacturers and distributors of opioids, has been incorporated into the settlement, with 85% of the settlement money targeted for local distribution:

  • 55% goes to a foundation created to disburse the money and fund programs that benefit Ohioans affected by opioids and/or prevent addiction.
  • 30% is earmarked for community recovery programs at the local level.
  • 15% goes to the state of Ohio.

In addition to the monetary settlement, Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen must also make significant internal changes to help prevent a similar crisis, such as give an independent clearing house their aggregated data on where the drugs are going and how often.

OneOhio regions

Ohio was carved into 19 regions, which will each recommend what gets local funding from the opioid settlement. Counties in Southwest Ohio are part of three of those regions.

Region 8: Montgomery County

Region 15: Preble, Darke, Miami, Champaign, Allen, Mercer, Logan and Auglaize counties

Region 14: Clark, Greene, Butler and Warren, Madison, Clinton and Clermont counties

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