Chelan County Finalizes Agreement for Opioid Distributor Money
Chelan County is in line to get a portion of settlement money agreed to by opioid distributors around the country.
Roughly $430 million is coming to Washington State in a newly accomplished agreement that'll be divided up between cities and counties.
Chelan County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Susan Hinkle says the settlement agreement lays the groundwork for any future opioid settlements.
"If more money gets thrown into court settlements of these class action lawsuits, then we've already got this template in place on how to split the shares between local governments," said Hinkle.
County commissioners signed off on the agreement Monday that will send $1.44 million in opioid settlement money to Chelan County over the course of 17 years.
The agreement will give Chelan County $80,000 a year for 16-consecutive years following an initial payment $160,000.
The money is to be used primarily for opioid treatment programs.
A number of benchmarks need to be met in order for the money reach the state.
All 121 cities and counties named as recipients in the settlement have to sign the agreement by September 23rd cutoff point. All the cities and counties will also have to release any claims they have against the distributors.
In addition, Hinkle says there'll have to be some coordination on a regional level. "Chelan County will have to have, basically, an inter local agreement in place with other North Central Washington counties on what we plan to do with the money," Hinkle said.
All cities and counties that meet the conditions will be referred to as "Participating Local Governments."
All counties as well as cities with populations of more than 10,000 are eligible for money from the settlement, regardless of whether they took part in a class action lawsuit against the distributers.
Hinkle, who gave a presentation on the settlement to county commissioners Monday, said the city of Wenatchee did not participate in the class action suit, but is in line to get money.
Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Okanogan and Kittitas counties in North Central Washington are in line for money in the settlement, while only Chelan and Kittitas counties joined in the class action lawsuit.
The agreement referred to as a "global agreement" is a settlement in Washington State with the three distributors that handled opioids in the state - McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Corporation.