NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - One of Tuscarawas County’s commissioners says he’s been working to secure the return of any possible opioid litigation settlement to the local level.
Chris Abbuhl says he’s met with other members of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO), along with governor Mike DeWine to discuss how to spend potential settlements in the court battle happening between dozens of
Ohio counties and drug manufacturers and distributors. Abbuhl says that money would be most effectively spent at the local level.
“How should we address the issue? If a settlement comes through, how should those dollars be spent? And the governor has been very supportive of the counties, that those dollars should come back to the counties that are affected,” he says.
Abbuhl says the opioid epidemic took a tool on the county’s finances through Job and Family Services, the courts, the public defenders office and the county sheriff’s office.
“There’s a variety of things in that respect as far as finances that affects the county but then you have the human aspect it, of the individuals that have the addiction, and what can we do to be able to help address that,” he says.
Abbuhl says the governor was supportive of the CCAO’s desire to return any payouts to the counties. Cuyahoga and Summit counties were recently awarded $260-million in a similar, separate case.