At first glance, the $880,600 Park County is slated to receive as its share of two opioid lawsuit settlements seems like a good deal.
The important question remains, “How is that money going to be spent?”
The money is coming from the OneWyo Memorandum of Agreement, an arrangement allowing Wyoming counties and municipalities to jointly settle with the largest pharmaceutical distributors and manufacturers rather than each entity’s taking on the companies individually.
Unfortunately, the money cannot be used as reparations for the damages and impact the use of opioids has already done to cities and counties in the state. The money can only be used to prevent opioid abuse in the future.
Hence our question “How will the money be spent?”
Former campaigns against the use of illegal drugs seemed to do little good.
The “Don’t do drugs” crusades didn’t seem to slow the epidemic of illegal drug use. It may have made us feel better that something was being done, but we question the usefulness.
We cannot see a social media video or a billboard proclaiming “Don’t use illegal opioids” helping stem the use much either.
We hope the money can be used to partially fund an aggressive drug control officer or an aggressive prosecuting attorney or rehabilitation services or some other effort with potential benefits. The settlement of $880,600 over 17.5 years only amounts to $50,320 per year.
Park County Attorney Bryan Skoric said, “It’s something that can be used, I guess, to do something good in the future.”
We hope those entities that receive the settlement monies will spend the money in a way that will actually produce some benefits.