Today, The Platte County Commission voted to join Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt's fight against opioid abuse. A lawsuit was filed by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office against Johnson & Johnson in 2018, and was expanded in 2019. The global settlement, which was announced in July of 2021, includes Johnson & Johnson and three major opioid distributors (AmerisourceBergen, McKesson, and Cardinal Health). The settlement could bring just over half a billion dollars to victims of opioid abuse in Missouri. Since announcing the settlement, the Attorney General’s Office has been aggressively engaging counties and subdivisions about obtaining sign-on.
"Our settlement is the largest victim-centric settlement in Missouri history, and could bring just over half a billion dollars for much needed treatment and recovery resources to victims of opioid addiction and abuse," said Attorney General Schmitt.
"In order to ensure Missouri receives the full amount under the settlement, counties and cities need to sign on to the State’s settlement – that amount could be halved without full participation. Today we’re proud to announce that Platte County is the first county to sign on to the settlement, with many more to follow.”
Platte County today decided to join the settlement and direct its share of payments to Missouri’s Opioid Addiction Treatment and Recovery Fund.
"Opioid addiction is a problem bigger than county government," said Commissioner Joe Vanover.
"Joining a unified approach is much better than each county separately trying to solve this problem." The Attorney General’s Office previously briefed Platte County officials on the state's plans to administer the funds to come from the settlement of the litigation. Presiding Commissioner Ron Schieber
added, "County government should keep a limited focus. We are happy to have an agreement which requires Missouri to take on all administration of the proceeds of the settlement."
“The state already has significant opioid treatment and abatement programs in place,” said Commissioner Dagmar Wood
. “We feel that routing all the funds through established state programs will be the most efficient way to fight the opioid crisis in Platte County.” The Platte County Commission has worked to keep the size of local government small and focused on core responsibilities.
The settlement negotiations were led by a bipartisan group of states, working closely with leading national counsel representing subdivisions. In addition to funding efforts to fight the opioid crisis, the settling defendants have agreed to make major changes in how they do business involving prescription opioids.
More information on the settlements can be found at https://ago.mo.gov/opioidsettlement