More than three-quarters of Ohio counties will join with the state to negotiate a settlement with drug manufacturers and distributors over the opioid epidemic.
According to a release by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, local governments, including 73 of Ohio’s 88 counties, have agreed to join forces as “OneOhio” to work as one unit in litigation against drug companies.
“I am pleased that Ohio’s communities have agreed to come together as OneOhio,” DeWine said. “It’s a simple concept, but when we are united, we are stronger. OneOhio puts us in the best position to face the drug companies did so much to destroy lives and communities when they got Ohioans hooked on their highly addictive products.”
OneOhio also provides for the distribution of any funds garnered from the settlement, and how they can be used. As part of the agreements, 30 percent of the funds would go directly to communities, to address the needs of residents. Another 55 percent would be set aside to create a foundation to develop and oversee long-term planning for local community needs. The remaining 15 percent would go to the state to help with prevention, treatment, and recovery services.
“When it comes to the opioid crisis, almost all of us are in the same boat,” Yost said. “This agreement formalizes our intent to stand together. We are stronger when we’re united.”
The move was supported by communities representing 9.8 million Ohioans from urban, suburban, and rural communities, or about 85 percent of the state.
“Our state is facing an opioid addiction crisis, and our community has been particularly hard hit,” said Zach Klein, attorney for the city of Columbus, the state’s capital. “The City of Columbus is hopeful that by joining forces and uniting as a state, the OneOhio plan will bring us swifter resolution that will ultimately provide much-deserved and needed resources to save lives. We must hold the drug manufacturers and distributors responsible for their role in this epidemic.