Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish yesterday announced how the county will spend $23 million it's received from four settlements in its lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors. The trial against the rest is slated to begin on Oct. 21 with Summit County as co-plaintiff.
Phase One of the Cuyahoga County Opioid Crisis Mitigation Plan, the county said yesterday, will focus on "evidence-based, impactful, sustainable programs with a focus on prevention, treatment and recovery."
The grants so far:
$5.4 million — For the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board to create 32 new residential treatment beds and to fund the expansion of the Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Program.\
$2 million — For St. Vincent Charity’s Rosary Hall for peer recovery efforts and the expansion of their Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Program.
$1.7 million — For MetroHealth's treatment of inmates at the county jail, including care for addiction and mental health issues.
$931,000 — For MetroHealth to create a specific opioid treatment program unit at the jail.
$3 million — For the expansion of the Thrive ED Program across local emergency rooms. "Thrive ED is an innovative program linking individuals in an emergency room that survive an overdose for immediate withdrawal management, treatment and other recovery support services."
$3.5 million — For the Sobriety, Treatment and Recovery Teams (START) Program at the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services to increase staffing. START works with mothers and newborns who have chemical dependency issues.
$2.5 million — For a newly created diversion program for low-level offenders suffering from substance issues to receive support instead of simply sitting in the county jail as they await court dates.
The county has estimated in court documents that it's already incurred hundreds of millions of dollars in costs dealing with the aftermath of the opioid epidemic — from the coroner's office to foster kids, from treatment to the court system, etc.
How long this money lasts and what more might be coming once the trial is complete are two open questions.
“Due to a handful of corporations that put their desire for profits over the health and well-being of the community, our community is suffering the consequences of this plague,” Budish said in a statement. “We are working to recover some resources necessary to pay the costs which we’ve already incurred and are likely to incur for years to come."
"The settlement funds that we have received allow us to get started in the important work of providing services to help avoid the next wave of casualties,” added County Council President Dan Brady.
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