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County opts for opioid settlement

by ANNISA KEITH
Staff Writer | November 17, 2021 1:00 AM

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SANDPOINT – Bonner County commissioners unanimously approved registering for a settlement agreement for a national opioid lawsuit.

The draft allocation agreement comes at the suggestion of the governor’s and attorney general’s offices. They asked the county to opt in to the Idaho Opioid Settlement Intrastate Allocation Agreement, which is a settlement determining how funds from a national opioid lawsuit are to be distributed in the state and county. The agreement is a part of a national lawsuit that settles all opioid litigation in the United States.

“‘Idaho will see $120,000,000 over 18 years,” said Deputy Clerk Jessi Webster, who also is the board’s operations manager. “$48,000,000 of that is going to be dispersed to local governments and Bonner County will see 2.5987361786 percent of that.”

“Could they have given us a more exact number?” asked McDonald.

Specifically, Bonner County is slated to receive $1,247,393.62 over 18 years, coming to $69,299.64 per year. The settlement has been in the draft process since 2018, and the money received must go toward opioid abatement in Bonner County.

“This is basically so we can register into this agreement,” Webster said.

Commissioner Steve Bradshaw weighed in. “The beauty in all this, which I find ironic, it’s great that the money is going to go where it’s going. But the opioid manufacturer did not write one prescription nationwide, not one. All they did was manufacture it and sold it. They just happen to have the biggest wallets so they’re the one that got stung in the lawsuit. And I really struggle with that one. Where does the responsibility really fall? Just putting that out there.”

No one spoke during public comment, and the commission unanimously approved registering with the settlement agreement.

The county commissioners hold a weekly business meeting that is open to the public at 9 a.m. every Tuesday in the administrative building at 1500 Highway 2.

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