St. Charles County will receive a gross allocation of $19.6 million in a nationwide settlement of lawsuits against companies that manufactured and distributed opioids. Once final, this community-led effort will secure billions of dollars in opioid epidemic relief resources nationwide, of which Missouri and its counties and cities will receive hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 18 years.
“This is a milestone moment,” says St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann. “There has been both a human and financial cost to this opioid crisis, and these funds will go toward community programs with proven track records of supporting recovery efforts here in St. Charles County and throughout the state.”
While this is a major moment in the fight against opioid abuse and misuse, it is just the start, according to Ehlmann. St. Charles County has cases against other defendants in the opioid industry and will continue the tireless pursuit for justice and accountability on behalf of our residents and those statewide impacted by the opioid epidemic.
Statistics from the Office of the Regional Medical Examiner show there were 426 opiate-related deaths in St. Charles County from 2017-2020. Ehlmann says the epidemic has cost taxpayers millions through increases in jail population and related costs; opioid-related crime including patrolling and overtime; NARCAN funding; 911 calls; and the number of cases in the Prosecuting Attorney’s office.
St. Charles County filed a lawsuit in August 2018 following other jurisdictions in Missouri and around the country. Several of the companies being sued negotiated with Attorneys General across the country to have the settlements funneled through the states, rather than each jurisdiction.