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Hamilton County And Ohio Officials Present United Front To Get Opioid Money

Patrick Sison

In what could be the nation's first show of unity in the opioid settlement arena, the state of Ohio and its local governments are close to an agreement on how to divvy up the money when it comes.

Hamilton County Commission President Denise Driehaus was in Columbus Tuesday - along with 75 other commissioners, mayors, attorneys and state officials - for a meeting organized by the Ohio Mayors Alliance.

"What we're trying to do is act collectively as the State of Ohio to move ourselves to the front of the pack," she says.

Millions of dollars are at stake from a lawsuit the state filed against opioid manufacturers and distributors in 2017. The drug industry is facing about 3,000 lawsuits linked to more than 430,000 deaths since 2000.

The goal is to position themselves as a united front when negotiating with drugmakers.

Driehaus says any money coming to Hamilton County would be funneled to the jail, Job and Family Services and the court system.

"So as the money hopefully comes to our community, I have no idea what the dollar amount would be under the structure of the Heroin Coalition. We would look at prevention, treatments, interdiction-law enforcement and then harm reduction which is kind of the public health component."

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With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.