Lucas County approves opioid lawsuit settlement

·2 min read

Aug. 10—The Lucas County commissioners on Tuesday approved a settlement as part of the statewide lawsuit against opioid distributers and manufacturers that could send up to $24.9 million to the county over 18 years.

Lucas County is one of many municipalities across the state to join the OneOhio plan, the state's mechanism to distribute funds from the National Prescription Opioid Litigation settlement to local jurisdictions. The state of Ohio will receive about $809 million from the national settlement to distribute locally.

The settlement is with three opioid distributers: AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson.

Attorney Michelle Kranz, who represents Lucas County in the lawsuit, told the commissioners that depending on how many other Ohio municipalities sign on, Lucas County stands to receive between $4.5 million and $6.4 million to offset the money spent over the years on opioid-related issues.

Those calculations are based on the number of pills that flowed into the jurisdiction, the number of diagnosed opioid use disorders in the jurisdiction, and the number of deaths in the jurisdiction.

Each township and city within Lucas County will receive their own compensation under the OneOhio plan based on that formula. Toledo City Council is set to vote on joining the settlement Tuesday afternoon.

Lucas County also will have a voting member on a 29-member nonprofit foundation board, which will determine how best to spend 55 percent of the state's settlement money on proactively addressing the impact of the opioid crisis. The foundation will divide the state up into zones, and Lucas County likely will receive between $12.7 million and $18.5 million to distribute to local organizations and programs, Ms. Kranz said.

She told commissioners she knows the settlement, "will absolutely in no way make whole the lives that have been destroyed, the lives that have been lost, the medical first responders that have been pushed to the limits in response to this particular issue, and in turn to you as the elected officials having to make decisions with regard to reallocating very precious and limited resources and assets in an effort to address this crisis."

Board President Tina Skeldon Wozniak noted the settlement sounds like a lot of money, but its distribution is split over 18 years. She and her colleagues Pete Gerken and Gary Byers agreed that they support the settlement, but Tuesday was not a day of celebration given the amount of addiction and death Lucas County residents have faced as a result of addicting prescription drugs.

Ms. Kranz said Johnson & Johnson is also part of the national suit that Ohio is participating in, but the company is not part of this portion of the settlement.

Check back for updates.

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