Arizona, Texas and Ohio, for example, all states with Republican attorneys general, have agreements with cities and counties on how the funds will be distributed. Part of the negotiation is how the money is spent and who controls it; and part concerns legal fees, which a federal judge has already capped at 15%. In Ohio, local government agencies will get 30% of the settlement; in Arizona, local government agencies will get 56%. There were no such negotiations in Missouri.
“Some of these rural counties are going off the beaten track in terms of treatment,” Garvey explains. “There is good we can really do here, but we have to be in the same room. Other states are talking.
Garvey says Schmitt’s office told him there would be no negotiation. Schmitt’s office did not respond to requests for comment. If the attorney general does not come to the table, Brinker says, he is prepared to ask the other counties – 100 of Missouri’s 114 counties are parties to the lawsuit – not to sign the state settlement and continue with their litigation.
“I think the state needs to take a real measure of the impact and how best to serve and heal our citizens,” Brinker said. The danger with Schmitt’s strategy, which appears to focus on maximizing his campaign, is that it has the potential to scuttle the settlement entirely, or at least cost the state millions of dollars. This is because the way the regulations are worded, there is a big bonus if all the cities and counties that are currently suing the manufacturers and distributors of opioids, adhere to them. More than $ 200 million of the proposed settlement is tied to participation bonuses.