Pulaski County is expected to receive approximately $1.6 million paid out over a span of fifteen years

In 2018, Pulaski County became a litigant in a class action lawsuit filed by numerous State and Local Governments against opioid manufacturers and distributors. The County Commission, at the recommendation of Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney and County Counselor Kevin Hillman, chose to be represented as part of the National Consortium of Attorneys representing these State and Local Governments in the numerous lawsuits proceeding in multiple jurisdictions across the United States. In 2022, a settlement was reached between the National Consortium and multiple opioid manufacturers. From that settlement, Pulaski County is expected to receive approximately $1.6 million paid out over a span of fifteen years. At the end of 2022, Pulaski County was notified that it would receive its first payment of approximately $191,000. These funds were recently received and placed into an interest-bearing segregated account. Litigation involving the distributors of opioids remains pending and it is hoped that a settlement with these parties will be reached soon. It is expected that any settlement with these entities will be structured in a similar fashion with a payout over the next ten to fifteen years. The funds from this and any future settlement are restricted to specific uses including drug education programs, drug treatment programs, drug enforcement, and prevention programs, and other uses related to combating drug use. Fifteen percent of the funds are permitted to be used for general revenue purposes. The County Commission has appointed an advisory board to assist with developing recommendations and plans for the use of these funds. The advisory board consists of Presiding Commissioner Gene Newkirk, Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Hillman, Circuit Clerk Rachelle Beasley, Coroner Roger Graves, and Treasurer Mack Wilkerson. The advisory board will conduct a public meeting in the near future to begin the planning process and solicit ideas on the proper use of these funds. Final decisions regarding the use of the funds will be made by the Pulaski County Commission. Prosecutor Hillman says, “Pulaski County has been at the epicenter of the opioid crisis for several years. It is the hope of all involved that these funds can be used to save lives and hopefully help end the scourge of opioid use and addiction in our County.”