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Officials Release Statement Protesting Against Attorney General Dave Yost's Proposal to Take Opioid Settlement Dollars

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Devyn Giannetti: (216) 443-8393; dgiannetti@cuyahogacounty.us 
Ryan Miday: (216) 225-0825; rmiday@prosecutor.cuyahogacounty.us 

Prosecutor, County Executive and Council President All Sign On

– County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley, County Executive Armond Budish and Council President Dan Brady released the following statement following Attorney General Dave Yost’s proposal to take opioid settlement dollars:

“We are yet again disturbed, frustrated and disappointed to see Attorney General Yost fighting the right to a trial—and to justice—for Ohio cities and counties he was elected to serve. When legislative action he proposed to restrict our right of action was swiftly condemned by community members and Governor DeWine, Attorney General Yost turned to the court to accomplish the same objective. This extraordinary and desperate move, after nearly two years of litigation and only two months before trial, is without legal basis.

“For more than 100 years, the Ohio Constitution has recognized the authority of local governments to govern themselves without undue interference from the State. This right, known as ‘home rule,’ is a cornerstone of a fair and proper allocation of power between the State and local governments.

“As with the prevention, education, interdiction, and treatment costs falling to local governments like Cuyahoga County, the burden of preparing for trial against opioid manufacturers and distributors has likewise been borne by those of us on the front lines. After more than 2,500 filings in the case and tens of thousands of hours of work, we are ready for our day in court, 52 days from today, on Oct. 21 before Judge Polster. Our first responders, emergency teams, police force, public health, addiction treatment, and children’s services providers, and many more are responding to the opioid epidemic every day. We have responded to addiction, overdoses, deaths, and family dislocation day in and day out. We know how we have been harmed, what we have spent, and what we need for the future.

“While Attorney General Yost seeks to grab power and money, this epidemic continues to take 130 lives every day, many of them right here in Ohio. Just two weekends ago Cuyahoga County saw 10 lives claimed by the opioid epidemic. Cuyahoga County continues to lose loved ones daily. We implore Attorney General Yost to put Ohioans lives and well-being first and support our efforts rather than oppose them. Attorney General Yost needs to look his constituents in the eye—the coroners, paramedics, officers, first responders, nurses that care for babies with NAS, and the men and women who have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into saving their neighbors, as they struggled and died by the hundreds from opioids—and tell us why we do not deserve our day in court.

“It is our hope that Attorney General Yost changes course and joins with us, rather than against us, in this fight. His constituents, their communities, and the Ohio Constitution demand no less.”