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South Bend Common Council votes to opt city back into state opioid settlement plan

An arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen, also known as Percocet, in New York. A new report finds a link between workforce participation and the prescription rate of opioids in the U.S.
Patrick Sison
/
Associated Press
An arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen, also known as Percocet, in New York. A new report finds a link between workforce participation and the prescription rate of opioids in the U.S.

The South Bend Common Council voted unanimously Monday night to opt the city back into Indiana’s opioid lawsuit settlement plan. The city — along with many communities across Indiana — had opted out of the old state plan in June 2021 because it was perceived as unfair.

Under the old plan, the state would have kept 85 percent of the money with the remaining 15 percent shared between counties, cities and towns based on population.

But city attorney Aladean DeRose said over the past year, the state has worked to correct those issues.

“They have gone back and have helpfully and in a good way worked with cities to come up with what we believe is a fair and equitable plan,” she said.

The new plan, which was signed into law earlier this month, provides a 50-50 split of all opioid settlement money, which will be distributed under a formula based on the amount of opioids in a community, the number of opioid deaths and the number of residents with opioid use disorders.

Thirty percent of what South Bend will receive can be used for anything with no restrictions, while 70 percent must be used for addiction treatment, prevention and care programs.

By opting in, Aladean said the city will receive its first settlement distribution at the end of April, which consists of $2.79 million dollars over 18 years minus 8.7 percent in attorney fees.

The second settled litigation will net the city about $655,000 over eight years. The city’s separate opioid litigation will remain active in cases where the state is not involved.

St. Joseph County and cities including Bloomington, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis have also opted back into the state settlement plan due to these changes, Aladean said.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.