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Yost Says Any Opioid Lawsuit Award Should Go Back To Local Level

Dave Yost speaks at the Ohio Republican Party event, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. Yost was elected as the next Ohio attorney general.
Tony Dejak
Associated Press

After taking heat for arguing the state should have a lead role in next month’s huge opioid trial in Cleveland, Ohio’s attorney general says he thinks any money won should be spent at the local level.

Last month, Attornet General Dave Yost backed a bill that would have given his office control of more than 100 lawsuits filed by local governments in that trial, saying individual cities and counties are litigating pieces of the state’s claims. He also asked a district court of appeals to delay the opioid lawsuit in federal court until Ohio's case is resolved.

Yost stresses any verdict or settlement funds should go to foster care, law enforcement, prosecutors, first responders and treatment.  

“As a practical matter, if we’re going to lose any of this money to fix the problem – which we absolutely ought to do – then it’s going to have to go back to the local level. I am for that," Yost said.

The bill would have allocated 10% of any award to Yost’s office and outside firms that worked on the case. The remaining 90% would be up to state lawmakers to parcel out, but at least 20% would go to local governments.

Local governments and prosecutors had accused Yost of trying a power grab, and Gov. Mike DeWine said he thought the proposal would be unfair and a mistake.