Guilford County is engaged in a joint lawsuit against a multitude of companies that manufactured, promoted and distributed opioids in a way that allegedly contributed to the national opioid addiction crisis.
However, Guilford County won’t be on the receiving end of a check from the opioid lawsuit settlement just announced by NC Attorney General Josh Stein.
That case – one of many lawsuits filed across the country related to the opioid crisis – generated a $573-million settlement from consulting firm McKinsey & Company over its role in promoting the sale of opioids. The list of recipients for that money includes North Carolina, which will get $19 million of the total. The remainder of the money is going to the other 49 states, the District of Columbia and US territories.
The $19 million that North Carolina is getting will be used by the state to combat the opioid crisis and opioid addiction. That will include funding for treatment centers and jail substance abuse programs as well as funding for county paramedics who respond to these types of calls.
While the $19 million will be welcomed by state officials, the company involved in this settlement wasn’t a defendant in the lawsuit that Guilford County is involved in.
As for when Guilford County government can expect to see money from the offending companies – and how much money it will see – well, Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne said those questions will be answered in the future.
“There will be a settlement in that matter, I believe, and, if we can reach a settlement agreement, it will be significantly higher than this,” Payne wrote in an email regarding the Feb. 4 announcement.
The county attorney added that, while the settlement announced by Stein won’t mean a direct payout of money to Guilford County, some of those funds could make it to the county through its treatment centers.
“In this particular settlement, the fund will come to the State,” Payne wrote. “It is a requirement of the settlement that the money must be used for opioid treatment measures. Since a great deal of opioid treatment is local, and since that is especially true in Guilford County, I feel that some of this money may make it here. I know that if our lawsuit is settled we will get a direct payment.”