FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- The City will independently pursue lawsuits against opioid manufacturers after Fort Wayne City Council voted 8-0 to opt-out of the state’s settlement Tuesday.
Indiana is expected to receive nearly $700 million for its share in a national opioid settlement.
“But it provides very little relief for cities and towns,” Councilman Geoff Paddock said.
In fact, Fort Wayne would only get a portion of the 15% in damages allotted to local governments.
“It’s in good wisdom from Mayor Henry and our city attorney that we kinda go out and do this on our own,” Paddock said.
If the city wins its own case, Paddock says the money will go towards clinics and addiction treatment centers in Fort Wayne.
“It was somewhat irresponsible for many manufacturers to put so much medication into some of these drugs that people became dependent on them.”
One of those people was Toby Hendrickson.
“Opioid addiction to me is pharmaceutical companies becoming the legal dealers. People that went from heroin to opioids and when they can’t get the opioids they’re going back to heroin and dying from the fentanyl,” Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson is house manager of The Thirteen Step House — a sober living facility home to dozens of recovering addicts.
“Most of us have all had our battles with opioids. I did the same thing. Eight years of doing them. It’s one of the hardest things to actually quit,” he said.
A graduate himself, he says the program saved his life.
“There are a few that I know of that made it. There are a few that you see in the obituaries. And there’s a few you see on patrol and a warrant is out for their arrest. It’s very disheartening.”
If Fort Wayne City Council decides to opt back into the state’s settlement deal, they have 60 days to do so.