BURTON — Village Council on Monday signed onto the pending nationwide opioid litigation settlement.

Council approved an emergency ordinance authorizing the mayor to execute the participation agreement for the OneOhio Subdivision Settlement for potential opioid litigation settlement funds.

On July 21, Ohio and other states reached a $26 billion settlement with drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, McKesson Corp., and Ohio-based Cardinal Health Inc., along with manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, which is expected to flood cash into opioid treatment and prevention programs.

“This has to do with the recent agreement reached by opioid producers and state attorneys general,” said Mayor Ruth Spanos. “Each local government has the opportunity to accept or reject the settlement.”

States will have 30 days to approve agreements and local governments have four months to sign on. After that, each of the drug companies will decide if enough jurisdictions agree to the deal before moving forward.

“There has to be a certain participation rate for it to go through,” said village Solicitor Todd C. Hicks. “We want to help the other communities.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported earlier this month that overdose deaths from opioids hit a record high in 2020, which was believed to be the result of the shutdown of services and isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By law, the distributors are supposed to monitor quantities of prescription drug shipments and have been accused of turning a blind eye for almost two decades while pharmacies across the country ordered medications.

Ohio’s attorney general and other local governments, through their elected representatives and counsel, are separately engaged in litigation seeking to hold opioid pharmaceutical supply chain participants accountable for the damage they caused.

According to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office, if local jurisdictions sign onto the agreement, Ohio’s portion of the settlement funds could be $1.03 billion.

The next council meeting is Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.

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