Racine County expecting millions of dollars from opioid lawsuit settlements | Local News


Racine County is anticipating to obtain hundreds of thousands of {dollars} to fund opioid remedy and prevention programing by means of the settlement of a lawsuit towards drug producers, below a invoice handed by the Wisconsin Legislature and signed by Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday.

Though he referred to as some elements of the invoice unconstitutional, Evers signed a invoice that may present the majority of the money coming to Wisconsin as a part of the settlement to county governments, together with Kenosha and Racine counties.

Tony Evers


Evers acknowledged that he signed the invoice “as a result of it’s going to assist carry much-needed funds to communities all through Wisconsin to handle the opioid pandemic by means of a settlement with opioid producers and distributors.”

Jonathan Delagrave headshot


Racine County Government Jonathan Delagrave issued a press release cheering the motion. “The opioid epidemic has destroyed households and killed numerous individuals, each in Racine County and throughout the nation. During the last 4 years, Racine County has labored tirelessly pursuing nationwide opioid litigation to carry accountability to these accountable and start the vital work of abatement and mitigation plans.”

The county expects the sum it’s going to obtain “to be within the hundreds of thousands of {dollars}” and that that cash “can be allotted towards abatement and mitigation of the opioid epidemic.”

Racine County initiated the lawsuit course of in December 2017 with a unanimous vote of the County Board. Pharmaceutical makers named in that lawsuit had been Purdue Pharma — the maker of the painkiller Oxycontin) — Johnson & Johnson, Endo Well being Options, their subsidiaries and particular person physicians as defendants.

In accordance with data compiled by the Central Racine County Health Department, 35% of all U.S. overdose dying in 2017 concerned prescription opioids. That yr, Wisconsin ranked twentieth nationwide in whole overdose deaths.

Racine County has felt among the worst of it. Whereas Wisconsin’s drug overdose mortality fee was truly slightly below the nationwide common in 2017, Racine County’s has been above both the state and national averages since 2013.

Each 8 minutes somebody dies from an unintended drug overdose. More often than not, it is from fentanyl.

Bipartisanship blended with mistrust

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Nevertheless, the first-term Democrat governor mentioned he was “deeply troubled” by elements of the invoice that shift energy over distribution of the funds from the state’s government department — i.e. the governor’s workplace — to the Legislature.

“Regardless of these critical issues, I’m not keen to danger our means to maximise the quantity of settlement {dollars} obtainable to Wisconsin by vetoing this invoice in its entirety,” Evers mentioned.

In his assertion, Delagrave mentioned: “The opioid epidemic is aware of no occasion affiliation. I applaud the work throughout occasion strains to make sure counties obtain our full allocation of assets to assist people and households — and cease this epidemic as soon as and for all. The general public must be heartened that their elected officers can nonetheless come collectively to place individuals first and get issues performed.”

States sued producers

Wisconsin was amongst various states that sued pharmaceutical producers and distributors who made and offered opioid painkillers. Very like the lawsuits towards tobacco firms prior to now, the fits search compensation from the businesses that marketed and offered the merchandise whereas knowingly downplaying the dangers of the merchandise that led to widespread opioid habit and deaths.

The litigation continues to be ongoing, however large settlements to the fits are anticipated.

Final week, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $230 million to the State of New York to settle claims that the pharmaceutical big helped gas the opioid disaster.

Plans as soon as cash arrives

The invoice Evers signed requires the majority of the settlement cash, when it comes, to be given to county governments, which oversee human providers program within the state.

Kenosha County management has been aggressive in pursuing opioid remedy and prevention applications over the past decade by means of the Kenosha County Opioid Activity Drive, creating applications together with diversion courts for individuals with drug habit, Narcan training and distribution applications to fight overdoses, counseling for individuals with habit and a Vivitrol remedy program for individuals with opioid addictions.

Kelly Osbourne’s long-running drug habit battle started when she was prescribed painkillers.

Kenosha County Government Jim Kreuser mentioned the settlement cash can be useful in that effort.

Michael Graveley


Kenosha County District Legal professional Michael Graveley mentioned he was grateful for the governor and Legislature’s “work on ensuring these settlement {dollars} get into the communities to assist us in our ongoing work to handle the opioid epidemic constructively.”


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