DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Montgomery County will participate in a joint statewide lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies they believe are responsible for the opioid epidemic.

Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) continues to spend millions of tax payer dollars on the crisis. 

While 2019 saw a downturn in overdose deaths, ADAMHS says the problem isn’t going anywhere. 

“We are still struggling to manage the opioid epidemic, to be honest. We’re not quite over the goal line yet,” said Helen Jones-Kelley, executive director for ADAMHS.

In 2016, ADAMHS reports spending close to $17.5 million dollars on anti-opioid related investments. They spent more than $20 million in 2017. That number bumped up to around $21.5 million in 2018.

“The dollars that we’re putting in now are actually a savings overall for the entire community because we’re getting people into productive employment opportunities, they’re getting back to school,” said Jones-Kelley.

ADAMHS is focusing on long-term care like workforce development.

“Now they can pay their rent, their mortgages, now families can be rebuilt so we’re investing in the aftercare work in this epidemic which is really making a huge difference,” said Jones-Kelley.

The cost to do that is part of the reason Montgomery County is joining the state’s One Ohio suit.  In case of a settlement, 30 percent of a potential settlement would be slated for local governments. It’s unclear how much, if any, may trickle down to services like ADAMHS. 

Jones-Kelley said, “We’ve seen an uptick in the number of community partners that are playing a role in helping us to address the issue.”

She says ADAMHS and those partners are now ready to address issues coming down the line.