By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
Many communities throughout the state of Ohio have seen the effects of the opioid epidemic and Grove City is no exception.
The state of Ohio and many municipalities, including Grove City, have joined together in litigation to hold pharmaceutical supply chain participants accountable for damages they have caused. A proposed settlement has been reached with AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. Under the proposal, the companies will pay over $800 million to the state of Ohio and its communities over 18 years.
At its Aug. 16 meeting, Grove City Council approved a resolution to accept the settlement with the pharmaceutical supply chain participants for their role in the opioid crisis.
Most of the money will be restricted in use and earmarked to combat the opioid epidemic.
“This is the best resolution that we’re going to see,” said Stephen Smith, law director for the city of Grove City. “The reality is that the money is going to go into a bunch of different pots – all of them used to fight the effects of the opioid crisis.”
Smith said the city could be eligible for payments somewhere in the range of $105,000 to $150,000.
“It isn’t perfect,” said Smith, “but it is in our best interest.”
The law director also said the city could submit an application to access more funding. Those applications would be considered by a review board.
Ohio is one of several states to share in the $26 billion national opioid abuse settlement. More than 4,000 entities nationwide are part of the overall settlement.
According to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Ohio could get $808 million from the distributors. He said this is the best opportunity for the many communities hit hard by the opioid crisis to begin to recover.
“We need to put these resources to work in our local communities for treatment, prevention and education,” said Yost. “We desperately need this money on the ground combatting the opioid epidemic.”
Under the plan, the settlement money would be distributed locally with 55 percent going to a foundation created to disburse the money and fund programs that would benefit Ohioans affected by the drugs, 30 percent set aside for community recovery programs at the local level, and 15 percent going to the state.
The settlement would also require the pharmaceutical supply companies to follow increased and improved measures to identify suspicious orders and pharmacy customers, under the oversight of an independent third-party monitor.
According to the Grove City Division of Police annual report, there were 167 heroin overdoses reported in Grove City in 2020. The report also lists 36 fentanyl overdoses and 98 overdoses from prescription medications.