South Bend Common Council opts back into Indiana's opioid litigation settlement

NOW: South Bend Common Council opts back into Indiana’s opioid litigation settlement


SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The South Bend Common Council is opting back into Indiana’s opioid litigation settlement.

The resolution which passed unanimously Monday night allows the city to recover a percentage of state funds received from a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.

The main reason they're opting back in is for the money. Previously, the settlement law only allowed a max amount of 15% which the council felt wasn’t worth the hassle. Now the city can recover 50%.

The opioid epidemic can be traced back to the 90s.

More doctors were prescribing opioids to their patients impacting South Bend and the rest of the country.

“They we’re highly addictive and in the 2010 to 2017 era they resulted in deaths, overdoses of fetal or newborn dependency," said Aladean DeRose, City of South Bend Attorney.

Manufacturers left out one thing in their marketing campaigns, how addictive the medications could be. Recognizing this, Indiana sued three major pharmaceutical companies getting $507 million in the 2021 settlement.

“At that time the state, which was organizing settlements on behalf of its cities, had a very inequitable, in our opinion, plan," said DeRose.

The plan initially called for each city to receive 15% of the settlement funds which South Bend decided not to accept in July of last year. Now the plan calls for 50%.

“It was based originally on population or per capita. It is now based on actual harm to a community," said DeRose.

The funds will be distributed based on state plans, but DeRose says the city believes this is now fair compared to what was previously offered.

“30% of what the city will receive is unrestricted, 70% must go to programs for the treatment and care of opioid residuals within the city," said DeRose.

The council will have to meet again at a later date to determine what they will do with the money once it is received.

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