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County Receives First Checks In Opioid Settlement

Roosevelt County has recently received the first two checks as part of the multi-state settlement holding the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors — Cardinal, McKesso and AmerisourceBergen — and Johnson & Johnson accountable for their roles in fueling the national opioid epidemic and the harm it has caused.

Montana is anticipated to receive $80 million total. Overall, $26 billion from the multi-state settlement will be distributed to 52 states and territories to combat the opioid crisis.

The first two checks that Roosevelt County received were for $6,451.92 and $3,772.12. County attorney Frank Piocos said these payments are the first of many that the county will see because of the settlement.

“My office has been working on this for the past few years. I anticipate that over the next three to five years, Roosevelt County will receive approximately $60,000, in the aggregate. As more pharmaceutical companies settle, I also anticipate that Roosevelt County will receive additional funds over the next 18 years,” Piocos said. “These funds are a drop in the bucket compared to the devastation opiates have had in our community. This includes suicides, overdoses, addiction, the destruction of families and the secondary effects like burglaries, thefts and other crimes committed to supply drug habits. However, Roosevelt County will receive some of these funds and these funds should be spent on where they have the strongest impact.”

He noted that 100 percent of these funds must be used for opiate abatement. “If they are not, the funds must be returned and will create problems in the future,” Piocos said.

Requirements for spending the funds include written proposals must be made to the Roosevelt County commissioners, put on the agenda and then discussed and voted upon by the commissioners.

“Department heads and members of the community should be encouraged to give input. In addition, research should be conducted to see how other jurisdictions are using their settlement funds,” Piocos said.

If anyone has ideas on how these funds should be spent with the goal of reducing the supply and demand of opiates in the community, they should contact the county commissioners.

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