(WKBN) — Trumbull County could get $344 million in a judgment after three pharmacy chains were found guilty of recklessly distributing pain pills. Last week, we heard from county officials about some ideas for spending the money. Monday, two people who have beaten addiction gave their ideas for the best places it could help.
It won’t be easy for Trumbull County to escape the grasp of drug addiction but the settlement money can help.
“The funding is going to provide a number of services that need to be addressed,” said Anthony Montevideo with Ohio Can Change Addiction Now.
Montevideo was prescribed oxycontin as he was being treated for cancer. He became addicted but broke the grip.
Summer Ellis is a drug and alcohol counselor, and she’s a recovering addict.
“I actually just celebrated 14 years on Saturday,” said Ellis.
They know the steps it takes to get clean and stay clean. They feel their experience could benefit Trumbull County as it decides how to spend or divide the money.
“I feel it’s very imperative that they have somebody who has life experience with substance use disorder, who has lived the life, who has gone through it, who has gone through the struggles,” said Montevideo.
Montevideo is meeting with two of the Trumbull County commissioners Tuesday to share his thoughts. He and Ellis believe the money can best be spent helping people afford treatment, plus educating them, and empowering them to improve their quality of life.
“It educates a person to know that they’re suffering with something that is bigger than them, but they can get help,” said Ellis.
They said simple things like better education or just getting a driver’s license can make a big difference as an addict recovers and hearing how others beat addiction is also a big boost.
The pharmacy chains are appealing the judgment, and it could be years before the county receives any money.