Local governments receive first payments of opioid settlement

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said this first round of payments through the state’s OneOhio settlement with national opioid distributors totaled more than $8.6 million statewide. In this file photo, Dayton Police Department Officer Joe Sheen replenishes his supply of Narcan. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said this first round of payments through the state’s OneOhio settlement with national opioid distributors totaled more than $8.6 million statewide. In this file photo, Dayton Police Department Officer Joe Sheen replenishes his supply of Narcan. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

Montgomery County receives over $446,000

Almost one year to the date after reaching a settlement with national opioid distributors, Dayton-area cities and counties recently received the first of a number annual payments totaling $1.7 million.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said this first round of payments through the state’s OneOhio settlement with national opioid distributors totaled more than $8.6 million statewide. Local governments will also continue receiving payments from the settlement for the next 18 years.

“Ohio’s families and communities have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic,” DeWine said. “While nothing can make whole the losses sustained by Ohioans who have been affected by opioids, it is welcome news that the first payments are going out this week to local governments.”

Over 3,000 other state and local governments sued opioid makers and drug distributors, starting in 2017, according to the National Association of Attorneys General, in response to the opioid epidemic. Settlements were reached with the three largest pharmaceutical distributors, Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, which were announced on July 21, 2021. Those three distributors will pay a maximum of $21 billion over 18 years, with the state of Ohio receiving $808 million.

Another settlement was also reached in July 2021 with Johnson & Johnson, a manufacturer of prescription opioids. Johnson & Johnson will pay a maximum of $5 billion over no more than nine years with up to $3.7 billion paid during the first three years. According to the governor’s office, the payments received from the Johnson & Johnson settlement will be distributed separately from the OneOhio settlement with the national opioid distributors.

According to the National Association of Attorneys General, the amount of settlement funds each state will receive was determined by using a formula that took into account the state’s population, as well as the impact the opioid epidemic on the state, “including the number of overdose deaths, the number of residents with substance use disorder, (and) the quantity of opioids delivered.”

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In Ohio, the opioid settlement funds are being divided with 30% going to local governments, 55% going to the statewide OneOhio Recovery Foundation, and 15% going to the Ohio Attorney General’s office for the state’s share as part of the state’s OneOhio memorandum of understanding. The foundation will disburse funds from the OneOhio settlement to go toward prevention, remediation, and training programs related to opioid addiction, which can be both short- and long-term plans.

As part of the OneOhio settlement, the state was separated into 19 regions with Montgomery County as its own region by itself. Region 15 includes Preble, Darke, Miami, Champaign, Allen, Mercer, Logan, and Auglaize counties, and region 14 includes Clark, Greene, Butler and Warren, Madison, Clinton and Clermont counties.

“ADAMHS is a member of the regional team being led by Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge. We do anticipate being able to place our priorities on the table during future discussions. We will be meeting with our board of trustees to discuss options,” said Helen Jones-Kelley, executive director of Montgomery County ADAMHS.

Locally, Montgomery County received approximately $446,337 as its first payment through the OneOhio settlement with other local entities and municipalities receiving payments ranging from $115,403 in Dayton and as low as $1,436 for Germantown.

Deb Decker, director of communications for Montgomery County, said the county expects to receive upwards of $8-9 million over the length of this settlement.

The funds Montgomery County received have not been earmarked for anything specific yet, but as the uses of the settlement funds must be related to opioid remediation, the county plans to work with partners like the Community Overdose Action Team (COAT) to find ideas.

“It will probably vary over the years what it will be used for, but it will all be for opioid treatment and prevention,” Decker said.

Montgomery County saw some of its highest number of overdose deaths in 2017 with approximately 566 accidental overdose deaths, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

“Dayton was called the opioid capital of the U.S., and that’s not something we want to be known for,” Decker said. After local partners, like Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County and Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug & Mental Health Services (ADAMHS), joined with the county and other agencies to form COAT, Decker said they made large strides to combat the opioid crisis. Overdose deaths dropped by 51% following 2017, but the county has seen a rise during COVID.

“It’s time for us to keep pushing this,” Decker said.

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Separate from the OneOhio settlement and the Johnson & Johnson settlement, Montgomery County is also receiving a settlement from Rite Aid, which will be at least $1,250,000.

“The purpose of the lawsuits against the opioid manufacturers, distributors, and retail pharmacies that dispense opioids is to hold these companies accountable for their actions and to receive funds to help abate the damage caused by the opioid crisis,” Montgomery County Prosecuting Attorney Mat Heck, Jr. said.

Greg R. Flannagan, a Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman, said the settlement with Rite Aid was a three-party settlement including Montgomery, Cobb, and Durham counties. Cobb and Durham counties were not parties to Montgomery County’s complaint against Rite Aid, and the settlement concludes Montgomery County’s litigation against Rite Aid.

Montgomery County can also receive as much as $3.5 million from Rite Aid, which will go toward drug treatment and prevention programs, public education, and support and training for first responders when it comes to practices and precautions in deal with opioids.

“Montgomery County has already received the first $1.25 million. Any additional money Montgomery County might receive is dependent on Rite Aid prevailing in their claim against their insurance provider,” Flannagan said.

Combined ShapeCaption
The number of accidental overdose deaths that took place in Montgomery County each month between January 2020 and July 17, 2022, according to the Montgomery County Coroner's Office. Graph bars in light purple are preliminary data, and all other colors are complete data. There have been approximately 156 accidental overdose deaths so far in 2022, according to both complete and preliminary data. Graphic is courtesy of the Montgomery County Community Overdose Action Team.

The number of accidental overdose deaths that took place in Montgomery County each month between January 2020 and July 17, 2022, according to the Montgomery County Coroner's Office. Graph bars in light purple are preliminary data, and all other colors are complete data. There have been approximately 156 accidental overdose deaths so far in 2022, according to both complete and preliminary data. Graphic is courtesy of the Montgomery County Community Overdose Action Team.

Combined ShapeCaption
The number of accidental overdose deaths that took place in Montgomery County each month between January 2020 and July 17, 2022, according to the Montgomery County Coroner's Office. Graph bars in light purple are preliminary data, and all other colors are complete data. There have been approximately 156 accidental overdose deaths so far in 2022, according to both complete and preliminary data. Graphic is courtesy of the Montgomery County Community Overdose Action Team.

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