CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – Approximately $2.58 million will come to Clearfield County to fight the opioid crisis if enough local governments sign on and this moves forward.
The settlement is part of a $21 billion settlement in the case against four of the major drug distributors in the US. Those companies are AmerisourceBergen, Cardinalhealth, McKesson, and Johnson & Johnson is one of the first steps in solving the growing opioid crisis.
“It’s going to take years to gain control of the drug problem with drug abuse in the county,” said John Sobel, a Clearfield County Commissioner.
More than $1 billion will come to Pennsylvania through the settlement, with the majority going to county governments, approximately 70%. Because Clearfield County was one of the counties directly part of the lawsuit, the county would receive an additional 15% of funds.
But, while commissioners are pleased that they will receive some aid in the fight again opioids, they agree that it is not enough.
“A little bit displeased the amount that Clearfield County did receive, we were hoping for a greater amount, due to the impact of the opioid crisis in our county,” said Tony Scotto, Clearfield County Commissioner.
The funds would be used to set up programs to fight opioid use within the county. The county hopes to team up with services such as the Clearfield Jefferson Drug and Alcohol Commission (CJDAC), as well as family services.
“The payments are spread out over an 18 year period. And the yearly amounts are such that we can set up a program, or programs to fight the opioid crisis in Clearfield County for close to a generation,” Sobel said.
There were 25 overdoses in Clearfield County last year, and over 700 people were treated at the CJDAC in 2020, making the county one of the most impacted by the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania.
“Hopefully the programs we develop can serve as models that can be used by other municipalities, other counties, hopefully even the commonwealth,” Sobel said.
The settlement will go through if enough local governments sign-on. Otherwise, the lawsuit will continue to move forward. Local governments have until January 2 to opt-in or out.
Sign up for the WTAJ Newsletter for the latest local news, weather, and community events that matter to you.