Wicomico County Executive And Council At Odds Again Over Opioid - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Wicomico County Executive And Council At Odds Again Over Opioid Litigation

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(Photo: CBS) (Photo: CBS)

SALISBURY, Md. - Money to help Wicomico County fight the opioid epidemic is up for grabs, but the executive and council cannot seem to agree on whether to jump on board. 

Last spring, Executive Bob Culver brought the opportunity to join a national lawsuit before the council.  But the council said no.

The nationwide lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors is expected to bring a multi-million dollar settlement.  The money gained will be distributed to communities across the country. 

But the council has the ultimate say on whether or not Wicomico County will get a piece of the pie. 

"This is a no brainer," Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis said. "But for Wicomico County to sit back and do nothing, it is absolutely egregious and reckless. We have to get on board immediately. It's not too late to redeem ourselves."

Assistant Director of Administration Weston Young says time is running out.  He's not hopeful that the council will change their minds before the deadline to sign up for the suit. 

"The ball is in their court, we're in favor," Young said. 

Council President John Cannon said the council has its reservations for saying no. 

"The real reasoning behind that at the time was that the council felt it was somewhat distasteful, they compared it to ambulance chasing, things like that. And so that was the decision of the council as a whole just to not seek litigation," Cannon said. 

But Young believes the only downside to joining the litigation is taxpayers will miss out on valuable dollars. 

"We see no downside to joining this suit, and the upside is we get money to help us with the opioid epidemic which is still present and still an issue," Young said.

After our initial interview with Cannon on Thursday, he reached out again to let WBOC know that he is hoping to put the litigation opportunity back on the council's agenda for reconsideration. 

Cannon says he's hopeful that other council members could change their minds before the decision needs to be finalized. 

Another option Young says could still bring in money to Wicomico County is if the state shares its portion of the settlement with local jurisdictions.

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