Hopkins County and several local cities will benefit from an opioid lawsuit settlement reached and funneled down through the State of Texas and Texas Political Subdivisions Opioid Abatement Fund Council. The funds are to be applied to help with expenses related to programs used to help reduce or do away with opioid abuse in Hopkins County, according to Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom.
The funding is part of a $573 million settlement reached last week with McKinsey, a company that provided consulting services to opioid companies, “including selling deceptive marketing plans, programs, and advisement to OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma for more than 15 years,” a news release earlier issued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office noted.
The agreement is between 47 states, the District of Columbia, five U.S. territories and McKinsey. Texas is to receive $38.4 million in the settlement to be handed down to municipalities that participated in the settlement, according to the AG’s Office.
“This settlement is the result of ongoing, aggressive action to hold opioid manufacturers and marketers accountable for their deceptive advertisement of highly-addictive pain pills, which spurred an epidemic that left victims and their families with unimaginable consequences. Prescription opioids continue to kill over a thousand Texans every year, and thousands more suffer from health consequences or the addiction or death of a beloved family member,” Attorney General Paxton said in a news release. “Texas will not stand by as countless lives are affected by misleading marketing and dangerous prescriptions. I will continue to do everything I can to protect Texans and help our state heal from this crisis.”
Among the nearby cities that joined the lawsuit and designated to receive funding from the settlement, according to information posted by the Attorney General’s Office, were: Sulphur Springs $124,603, Como $415, Cumby $5,320, Tira $5,320, Winnsboro $28,791 and Yantis $2,072.
Additional nearby counties designated to receive funding from the settlement, according to the AG report, included Hunt County $309,851, Wood County $267,048, Rains County $53,190, Delta County $30,584, Lamar County $141,598, Red River County $29,306 and Franklin County $25,783.
Health Care Region 1 which includes Anderson, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Freestone, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Houston, Hunt, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Panola, Rains, Red, River, Rusk, Smith, Titus, Trinity, Upshur, Van, Zandt and Wood Counties is to benefit from $38,223,336 from the settlement, according to the Texas Opioid Abatement Fund Council and Settlement Allocation Term Sheet posted by Paxton’s office.
“When we went into this lawsuit, it was several years ago, our county actually entered into a suit against the opiate companies for the damage that opiate abuse has done in Hopkins County. It’s been a long time coming,” Newsom said Sunday.
Newsom said attorneys have been working on the opioid lawsuit for a number of years. The judge pointed to a stack of papers that he’d received from the attorneys over the years in regard to the lawsuit, each of four stacks of papers displayed on a table in front of the Commissioners Court bench appeared contain a few reams of paper each. A settlement was reached last week, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
“Hopkins County should receive a little over $149,000 that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. So, I’m glad that we went ahead and entered the suit. There was some question as to whether it was even of value to enter into this lawsuit and some others chose not to, but we did. This money will have to be used particularly for the remedy of the opiate abuse that we’ve experienced and the problems that it caused. So, we will have to use this money correctly; that is there’s a specific way to use it. Perhaps the sheriff’s office will be able to assist us with it to make sure we properly to come against opiate abuse in our community,” Newsom explained.