Cincinnati receives first opioid distributor settlement payment of $166,000
Cincinnati has received $166,000 as the first payment from a state-negotiated settlement with major opioid distributors. The city is set to receive between $2 and $3 million over the next 18 years.
Cincinnati could have received much more if it opted out of the state settlement and pursued its own lawsuit instead, although that option would risk the city receiving nothing. City Solicitor Andrew Garth and then-mayor John Cranley strongly recommended pursuing the lawsuit, but Council voted 4-3 last year to accept the state settlement instead.
"I was one of a minority — we lost the vote that wanted to take them to court directly," Council Member Greg Landsman said Monday. "Because the settlement amount in my mind was outrageously low compared to the harm that they did to our families."
Solicitor Garth could have moved ahead with the lawsuit in spite of the council vote, but the administration followed the recommendation of council.
The city’s direct payments from the settlement will never be less than $166,000 a year, but the amount could go up as more companies sign on to the agreement.
The money can be used for evidence-based opioid and substance use disorder treatment and prevention.
“There’s also money that's flowing through the state through a foundation to different regions in the state of Ohio, of which Hamilton County is its own region,” said Deputy City Solicitor Emily Smart Woerner. “[For] that money, there's a separate board that will award money to projects — again for these uses — but the city will not have a direct say on that.”
Council Members Victoria Parks and Meeka Owens are on the committee that will distribute the state’s portion of the settlement.