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County proposes opioid mitigation fund for settlement money

Money would be only be used for opioid epidemic
Posted: 5:46 PM, Oct 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-21 18:18:56-04
Opioid Crisis Q A

CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Council will hear a proposal Tuesday to establish an Opioid Mitigation Fund, which sponsors say would set aside the millions of dollars the county receives as part of its settlement with drug makers and distributions and earmark it to fight the opioid epidemic.

On Monday Cuyahoga and Summit Counties announced a $260 million deal to settle the county's federal opioid lawsuit.

RELATED: Cuyahoga and Summit counties reach tentative deal with four drug companies in opioid epidemic case

"They have said from the beginning that they needed this money to address this crisis, well they gosh darn better use it to address this crisis," said Andrew Pollis, a professor with Case Western Reserve University's School of Law.

Pollis said with so much money at stake, it's crucial that the community follow how it's spent.

"The natural concern is that it will line pockets other than those it was intended to line," he said.

The proposed ordinance establishing the fund calls for "all monies received by Cuyahoga County as the result of a settlement agreement, trial verdict, court order, or some other action" related to the federal lawsuit "to be used solely for opioid remediation, mitigation, and rectification of the opioid epidemic in Cuyahoga County."