Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced on Friday that the state reached an $808 million agreement with the three largest distributors of opioids.
The mutual agreement is meant to provide monetary relief for communities throughout the state that were hit hard by the addiction crisis.
“This is a historic day for Ohio,” Yost said during an afternoon press conference. “We have $800 million coming to Ohio to fix this mess – what lawyers call ‘abatement.’”
According to Yost, the agreement means that local governments could begin receiving guaranteed compensation as early as November. Furthermore, the opioid companies will be responsible for all legal fees incurred during the process.
“We were able to get the companies to agree to pay the state’s attorney fees on top of the settlement — so the settlement amount will not be reduced by legal fees,” Yost continued.
As funds arrive in the state, Yost detailed how some of the funds will be distributed:
- 55% goes to a foundation created to disburse the money and fund programs that benefit Ohioans affected by opioids and/or prevent addiction.
- 30% is earmarked for community recovery programs at the local level.
- 15% goes to the state of Ohio.
Furthermore, the settlement places restrictions on the companies to prevent an additional crisis:
- Establish a centralized independent clearinghouse to provide all three distributors and state regulators with aggregated data and analytics about where drugs are going and how often, eliminating blind spots in the current systems used by distributors.
- Use data-driven systems to detect suspicious opioid orders from customer pharmacies.
- Terminate customer pharmacies’ ability to receive shipments, and report those companies to state regulators when they show certain signs of diversion.
- Prohibit shipping of suspicious opioid orders and report such suspicious orders.
- Prohibit sales staff from influencing decisions related to identifying suspicious opioid orders.
Over the past 10 years, opioid overdoses claimed the lives of more than 23,700 residents throughout the state.
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