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Kandiyohi County signs on to amended opioid settlement agreement

Kandiyohi County continues to support the massive opioid settlement which requires opioid manufacturers and distributors to pay for their involvement in the opioid crisis in the country.

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The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution April 4 signing on to the amended Minnesota Opioids State Subdivision Memorandum of Agreement, which ensures the county's continued participation in the settlement.
Contributed / iStock

WILLMAR โ€” Kandiyohi County will receive a lower-than-expected amount of money from a national opioid settlement after the County Board unanimously approved an amended settlement agreement at its April 4 meeting.

The agreement, which the county initially approved in December 2021, needed to be amended as several other opioid distributors have been added to the list of companies required to pay out for their involvement in the crisis that has seen skyrocketing opioid addiction and deaths across the country.

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Roger Imdieke
Contributed / Kandiyohi County

Between the first wave of settlements with Johnson & Johnson and opioid distributors , Mallinckrodt , Endo , McKinsey , and Purdue โ€” and now this second wave which includes Walmart, CVS and Walgreens โ€” Minnesota is set to receive more than $535 million in monies that can be used for opioid addiction treatment and prevention.

According to the settlement agreement, Minnesota's total allocation will be split in two, with 75% of the funds going to eligible local governments and the remaining 25% staying with the state. Kandiyohi County should receive approximately $591,038 between the two settlements by July 2038. The payments will come annually.

The formula to decide how much each local government receives includes population statistics, opioids prescribed and opioid-related deaths. While Kandiyohi County's total population is over the 30,000 threshold to receive funds, its prescription rates were lower than others, meaning the county had a lower allocation percentage than many other counties.

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"Whether it was awareness in Kandiyohi County and these other counties or the major medical provider in the area did a pretty good job not writing a lot of prescriptions for opioids, we kind of came out on the short end of the stick," said Commissioner Roger Imdieke.

There is little chance of the distribution formula being changed, Imdieke added. However, for Minnesota to receive all of its money, many of the eligible counties and cities need to approve the amended agreement.

"We are kind of taking one for the team with this one," Imdieke said.

The county has already received some funds from the settlement. The money can be used for programs and strategies that address opioid treatment and prevention. Funds can also go to groups such as first responders, research that supports opioid abatement and even post-mortem items such as toxicology tests, autopsies and death investigations.

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Kelsey Baker
Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

"We are still working on what we are going to do with this opioid funding," said County Administrator Kelsey Baker. She will be working with county staff from multiple departments on a plan and will bring it back to the County Board.

Even though Kandiyohi County will not receives as much funding as had been hoped, there is the possibility it will be able to work with other counties when creating programs using the funds.

"This is where county governments are really looking at collaboration," Imdieke said. "There may be some other opportunities for counties like Kandiyohi."

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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