TRUMBULL CO., Ohio (WKBN) – Major pharmacy chains CVS, Walgreens and Walmart have been ordered to fund abatement plans in Lake and Trumbull counties following a jury decision.
On Wednesday, Judge Dan Polster of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio ordered the major pharmacy chains to pay $650 million over 15 years to the two counties after the jury decided them liable for creating a public nuisance and fueling the opioid epidemic in Lake and Trumbull county communities.
“Holding CVS, Walgreens and Walmart accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic has been years in the making,” reads a statement from the co-leads of National Prescription Opiate Litigation Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee. “Today’s decision means that the Lake County and Trumbull County communities will soon receive the long-overdue recovery funds they need to address the effects of the opioid epidemic locally.”
Trumbull County Commissioner President Frank Fuda said these funds may signal “the beginning of the long road to recovery” for the county.
“For years, the dedicated frontline workers of Trumbull County have fought to address the harms of the opioid crisis,” said Fuda in a statement. “We know which mitigation strategies are effective in preventing further damage in our community.”
Fuda added that Trumbull County will get $344 million, which is $24 million per year. He said that a committee consisting of the Mayor’s Association, trustees, mental health board and citizens will work together to decide how to spend the money to resolve the opioid issue.
The abatement plan means the county will have the necessary resources to properly address the opioid epidemic, according to Fuda.
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Lake County Commissioner President John Hamercheck said in a statement that the county will remain committed to continuing the fight against the epidemic after years of doing so with limited resources.