Everett joins statewide settlement with opioid distributors

Council president: Expected amount “not nearly” enough to recover from devastation. “But it’s something.”


EVERETT — A settlement with opioid distributors could land the city of Everett with between $3.5 million and $4.1 million.

The Everett City Council voted 7-0 Wednesday to join the agreement, officially called the One Washington Memorandum of Understanding, that settles claims with opioid distributors McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp.

“We are not getting nearly what we should be getting out of this lawsuit to make up for the devastation in our community,” Council President Brenda Stonecipher said. “But it’s something.”

Council President Brenda Stonecipher was on the city council when it agreed to file the lawsuit, making Everett one of the first cities in the state to sue over the societal effects of opioids. She recalled reading a story in the LA Times about black-market opioids flooding Everett and Snohomish County in 2016 and feeling spurred into action.

“At the time we were dealing with an absolutely out of control drug problem and homelessness,” Stonecipher said.

The settlement provides annual payments through 2039. It only resolves claims against the distributors. The city’s other opioid-related lawsuits, including one against manufacturer Purdue Pharma, are ongoing.

“We think it’s a good deal,” assistant city attorney Ramsay Rammerman told the council Wednesday.

Snohomish County agreed to join the distributors settlement earlier this month and stands to collect almost $15 million through 2039.

The settlement has a Sept. 23 deadline for cities, counties and school districts to join. Most had signed on as of Thursday, according to a tally kept by the state Attorney General’s Office.

That money will be marked to address the opioid epidemic.

Ben Watanabe: 425-339-3037; bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @benwatanabe.

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