An agreement to release and assign Gardner’s opioid claims to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and certifying the costs attributed to substance abuse over $500 was approved by the council at their Jan. 18, 2022, meeting.
House Bill 2079 Kansas Fights Addiction Act authorizes municipalities to certain settlement funds.
Spencer Low, city attorney, said it was part of a current national class action lawsuit.
“I can’t tell how much the city would get,” he said. “But speaking to Chief (Jay) Belcher we have surpassed that number in cost for NarCan treatment etc.”
Kacy Deaton, council member, said she wanted to know if this was joining a class action or just stating they were eligible.
Low said it was a national class action lawsuit being handled by the State of Kansas.
“It’s a 75-25 split, and we are part of the 25,” he said. “This is just saying we get a check.”
Steve Shute, council vice president, said he wanted to know the number of cases and confiscations the department had dealt with the last few years.
James Belcher, police chief, said most of their costs in handling the opioid crisis was with personal protective equipment and training. “Luckily we are not seeing it as bad in our city,” he said. “But more in other areas of the county and metro.”
Belcher said a major problem was handling drugs that had been laced with other drugs, and it was very dangerous. “Fentanyl is the big one right now,” he said. “It’s 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.”
—an old business item for a franchise agreement with Evergy Metro.
Low said the deal hadn’t changed and the contract was for 20 years. The contract requires Evergy to collect and pay the city a fee of three to five percent.