The roughly 2,000 state and local governments that are suing the drug industry over the nation’s deadly opioid crisis are already battling each other over the best way to distribute any money they receive in settlements.
Local governments say they have had to shoulder many of the costs of the epidemic, including police protection and mental health treatment, and they want direct control over some of the money.
State governments, though, say they are in a better position to oversee the proceeds and run big prevention and treatment programs.
In the background are concerns about what happened to the huge settlements that the states reached with the tobacco industry in the 1990s. Much of the money ended up going toward projects that had nothing to do with getting people to quit smoking.