DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – This week, dozens of Ohio mayors met to discuss the next steps in the historic opioid settlement case. $325 million will eventually go to communities battling addiction. But first state and local leaders must agree on how to divvy it up.
Kent Scarrett of the Ohio Municipal League says, “The concentration has always been on getting these dollars down into our communities. That is the priority, we are all on the same page.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and dozens of Ohio mayors are finetuning the plan to get hundreds of millions of dollars secured in the historic opioid settlement to the communities that need it most. The breakdown discussed this week would send 15% of the settlement to the state and 30% to local municipalities.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley says the local money would pay for overhead costs tied to the epidemic that were not anticipated. “On the city side, we have significant costs when it comes to capital, because when you’re running firetrucks nonstop to deliver Narcan, that wasn’t in the capital modeling of how to use firetrucks. So we’ll need to invest in some of the first responder capital equipment.”
The remaining 55% of the settlement would create a foundation for addiction treatment programs, which Mayor Whaley says will also benefit local communities. “30% and the 55% to a foundation that can work for all our communities. So when you really think about it, it’s like 85% going on the ground, which I’m pleased with.”
Scarrett says the agreement could come in a matter of weeks, not months, adding Ohio could be one of the first in the country to secure and use drug settlement money. “All parties are motivated to get this agreement in place as soon as possible so that we’re ready to present to the federal court the Ohio plan, that is a united plan.”
Scarrett says this formula may not be perfect as some municipalities may always want a bigger piece of the pie. But Mayor Whaley says this settlement is a good place to start. “While it doesn’t equal the amount that we’ve spent on the crisis that the drug companies started, I think this is the best way for us to get some dollars recouped.”