In Unorthodox Proposal, Every City, Town And County In U.S. Could Receive Money In Sweeping Opioid Settlement
Right now, 1,650 municipalities and counties are eligible for compensation in a sweeping opioid court case being overseen by a judge in Ohio. The unique proposal made on Friday would expand that number to about 24,500. The goal behind this proposal is to sweeten the incentive for the defendants to negotiate a settlement in earnest, something they have largely resisted. If all municipalities are included in a settlement, the reasoning goes, these companies would not have to fear future lawsuits from local governments.
The New York Times:
Groundwork Is Laid For Opioids Settlement That Would Touch Every Corner Of U.S.
Every city, town and county in the United States could receive a payout in a settlement with the largest makers, distributors and retailers of prescription opioids, if a judge approves an innovative proposal made Friday in an Ohio federal court by lawyers for hundreds of local governments. The plan, which legal experts describe as “novel” and “unorthodox,” could potentially expand the number of municipalities and counties eligible for compensation in the federal litigation from 1,650 to about 24,500 and open the way for a comprehensive national opioid settlement with the pharmaceutical industry. (Hoffman, 6/14)
Opioid Makers Squeezed As Cities Try To Form Group For Talks
More than 1,500 U.S. municipalities are seeking to negotiate as a group with Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma LP and other drug makers over the opioid epidemic, hoping that will spur the companies to pay billions of dollars to settle lawsuits. The cities and counties, which blame the drug makers and distributors for creating a national public-health crisis by illegally promoting addictive painkillers, asked U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland Friday to let them create a negotiation class. The suits were already consolidated for pre-trial exchanges of information in the so-called multidistrict litigation, or MDL. (Feeley and Harris, 6/14)
In other news on the country's drug epidemic —
Kaiser Health News:
Federal Grants ‘A Lifesaver’ In Opioid Fight, But States Still Struggle To Curb Meth
In his 40 years of working with people struggling with addiction, David Crowe has seen various drugs fade in and out of popularity in Pennsylvania’s Crawford County. Methamphetamine use and distribution is a major challenge for the rural area, said Crowe, the executive director of Crawford County Drug and Alcohol Executive Commission. But opioid-related overdoses have killed at least 83 people in the county since 2015, he said. Crowe said his organization has received just over $327,300 from key federal grants designed to curb the opioid epidemic. While the money was a godsend for the county — south of Lake Erie on the Ohio state line — he said, methamphetamine is still a major problem. (Heredia Rodriguez, Lucas and Donovan-Smith, 6/17)
In California, New Drug Treatment Money Also Means New Rules
An influx of federal money is allowing counties throughout the state to get more people into treatment. But with federal money comes federal limits on how to spend it. People will only be allowed to stay in residential treatment for up to 90 days. And if they drop out of treatment, even after a few days, they only have one chance that year to try again. (Dembosky, 6/17)