Lyon obtains part of the payment from the opioid court | New

ROCK RAPIDS—Lyon County wins part of a legal settlement related to the national opioid crisis, though payment details are yet to come.

County Attorney Amy Oetken briefed the Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday meeting in Rock Rapids.

“At this point, we are just waiting. I think it will go pretty quickly. After that, it is money that will be made available to the county. We’ll just have to decide how to spend it,” Oetken said.

The likely outcome for the county is to receive payments of various amounts over 16 years. Oetken estimated the first payment will be $4,500. The county’s final amount is expected to total more than $100,000.

“We don’t know exactly yet, but that number should be coming soon,” Oetken said.

The catch, the lawyer explained, is that the money has to be spent on reducing reliance on painkillers. The question, then, is: What counts for this designated goal? Oetken said it was unclear what would be allowed, but she expects more guidance to be available soon.

Judicial progress in the case has progressed slowly given its far-reaching impact.






Lyon County Supervisor Cory Altena reviews a document during the county council meeting Tuesday, Aug. 2 in Rock Rapids. Local governments will receive part of a multi-billion dollar settlement stemming from a nationwide lawsuit related to the opioid crisis.



Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller signed a multistate lawsuit that essentially alleged that the makers of opioids — powerful prescription painkillers like OxyContin — knew their product was addictive and subject to abuse. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson have pushed to over-distribute the drugs, leading to higher and unnecessary demand.

The litigation is still ongoing, although the total liability is in the billions of dollars.

Lyon County’s multi-million payment reduction is calculated on a per capita basis based on what Iowa receives, a number that is not yet fully determined. Given its small population, Lyon receives 0.162% of the sum due to the State.

Oetken told supervisors the first payment is expected to come in early August. The council signed up April 12 to be part of the statewide cast at the attorney’s suggestion. At the time, supervisors said it made sense to get the funding because it was readily available.

Figuring out how to spend the money could be tricky, Oetken said. Drug treatment could be administered by the Lyon County Department of Health Services, but the language of the regulation specifies “reduction” or prevention of future drug abuse.

The board agreed on Tuesday to set up a committee to manage the funds. The committee includes Oetken, health administrator Melissa Stillson and delegates from the sheriff and ambulance crews.

Oetken also said there is an audit force to ensure reduction spending is within the parameters of the regulations, so clear reasoning must be documented in case future projects come under review. meticulous.

Supervisors briefly discussed a public service announcement campaign as a possible use of the funding. Oetken noted that other local governments will receive their payments, so Lyon County can get ideas from them.

The board accepted the wait-and-see approach.

“I think we’ll have to reach out to other counties and go from there,” Oetken said.