Board of commissioners set to vote on second wave of opioid lawsuit settlement funds

Published 12:01 am Sunday, March 5, 2023

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Commissioners will discuss and vote Monday on signing an agreement with the North Carolina Attorney General’s office regarding funds the county will receive from national opioid settlements.

State and local governments stand to receive more than $600 million after settlements were reached with CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Allergan and Teva. The pharmacies were sued for their part in the national opioid epidemic. The state will receive its share of payments only if all eligible local governments sign onto the settlement. The deadline to sign up is April 18, but the commissioners have added it to Monday’s meeting agenda. The full amount the county will receive as part of its share is to be announced at the meeting as well. When the county would actually receive the funds has not been announced. 

This is the second wave of settlement funds the county will receive from opioid lawsuits. North Carolina received approximately $757 million in settlement funds with the nation’s three largest drug distributors: McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, and drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. The county received $15 million last year that the state will distribute over 15-17 years. The first payments were received in May 2022.

In other action, the commissioners are set to approve two contracts. The first is with the Bogle Firm to provide architectural and engineering services for the proposed new office facility for the Rowan County Transit System. The second is a contract with Wharton-Smith Inc. for the construction of the West End Plaza Agriculture Center. The commissioners awarded the $25.6 million contract to the company in January. 

The commissioners are also expected to approve a policy designating the Rowan County Health Department as a non-public forum, in order to “protect the privacy rights of clients seeking health care and related services,” according to a memo sent by Alyssa Harris, the department’s public health director. The Rowan County Board of Health unanimously approved the request to designation as a non-public forum at a meeting in February.