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How Many Opioid Pills Did Major Drug Distributors Pump Into Franklin County?

Kiichiro Sato
Associated Press
Dublin-based Cardinal Health is making a leadership chance as lawsuits surrounding the opioid crisis mount.

AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson all reached a settlement with Summit and Cuyahoga counties. However those two counties did not see the largest influx of opioids in the state.

Dublin-based Cardinal health is the single largest distributor of opioids in Ohio. From 2006 to 2012, they distributed nearly 730 million pills.

In that time, Cardinal health distributed more opioids in Franklin County than in Summit and Cuyahoga combined, according to data from the Drug Enforcement Agency.

The company pumped more than 105 million opioids into Franklin County, about 14% of all the pills distributed by Cardinal Health in the entire state.

AmerisourceBergen distributed about 35 million pills in each of the counties, and McKesson distributed about 40 million to Cuyahoga and fewer to the Summit and Franklin counties.

In a joint statement, the three companies write: "While the companies strongly dispute the allegations made by the two counties, they believe settling the bellwether trial is an important stepping stone to achieving a global resolution and delivering meaningful relief. The companies expect settlement funds to be used in support of initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic, including treatment, rehabilitation, mental health and other important efforts."

Walgreens, CVS and Kroger were also among the top distributors in Franklin County. 

According to an analysis from the Washington Post, Cuyahoga County received an average of 29 pills per person per year. That number rises to 44 in Summit County, and even higher to 52 per person per year in Franklin County. 

Ohio's Appalachian counties received the largest influx of drugs, according to the Washington Post. Jackson County was the most impacted in the state with more than 100 pills per person per year from 2006 to 2012.

Over 100 Ohio cities and counties have filed lawsuits against the opioid industry.

Paige Pfleger is a former reporter for WOSU, Central Ohio's NPR station. Before joining the staff of WOSU, Paige worked in the newsrooms of NPR, Vox, Michigan Radio, WHYY and The Tennessean. She spent three years in Philadelphia covering health, science, and gender, and her work has appeared nationally in The Washington Post, Marketplace, Atlas Obscura and more.