(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Thanks to the extraordinary cooperation and swift action from Ohio’s city, county, township and village partners, the OneOhio opioid settlement agreement with the nation’s three largest distributors now has the backing of more than 96% of the state’s litigating population, Attorney General Dave Yost announced today.
The rising support for the agreement with Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen makes the $808 million settlement a real possibility.
“I understand the need to carefully consider this issue,” Yost said. “But without a trial date, no subdivision will do any better than this deal in a standalone negotiation—and time is of the essence.”
“It’s important that we continue to urge the holdouts to sign on by Friday.”
The increased local support for the agreement follows a press conference last Friday at which the attorney general said Ohio was at pivotal point in the negotiations with the distributors.
With 86% of the litigating population on board at that time, he encouraged those who had not made a decision to sign on or risk losing out.
“This overwhelming level of support from local leaders is a victory for collaboration and communication statewide,” Yost said. “Communities across Ohio are clearly seeing that we’re in this together; they know it’s a time for ‘we,’ not ‘me.'”
As of this morning, 135 of the 143 litigating local governments had signed on to OneOhio – a total representing more than 96% of the population within the litigating subdivisions.
The state has until Friday to continue gathering support.
Ohio has been a steadfast leader in the opioid fight. It was among the very first states to sue the distributors and manufacturers over their wanton and reckless pushing of these dangerous drugs.
The state developed the OneOhio plan to ensure that any money from a negotiated settlement gets distributed fairly to the communities hit hardest by the opioid epidemic — but communities must agree to take part before they can be included. Under the plan, the settlement money would be distributed largely locally, with:
- 55% going to a foundation created to disburse the money and fund programs that benefit Ohioans affected by opioids and/or prevent addiction.
- 30% earmarked for community recovery programs at the local level.
- 15% going to the state of Ohio.
Yost firmly believes that the deal with the three distributors represents the best opportunity for local communities to recover from the devastation.
“This is an opportunity to get real money going to help real people,” he said. “These communities desperately need this money to be put to work on the ground, to pay for essential treatment, prevention and education.”