Commissioners say counties should control opioid lawsuits

Posted at 12:17 PM, Sep 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-21 12:17:59-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio county commissioners say counties should have control of any settlement money derived from lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies.

The County Commissioners Association of Ohio voted unanimously Friday to oppose giving the state attorney general exclusive authority over the lawsuits, saying it "strikes at the heart" of local governments' constitutional authority.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, has circulated draft legislation allowing the state to take a lead role in lawsuits against companies blamed for a crisis that has killed thousands of Ohioans.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has said such legislation would be a serious mistake.

The commissioners say their county agencies to include courts, sheriff's offices, jails, coroner's offices, adult probation services, family services and public defenders have been overwhelmed by the crisis.