County votes to opt-in to Janssen opioid settlement

Ohio Benefits System to be down December 3

By Darian Gillette -

SCIOTO —After an executive session discussing pending litigation Thursday, the Scioto County Commissioners voted to participate in an opioid settlement agreement with Janssen, the pharmaceutical company of Johnson and Johnson.

“We discussed this with our legal counsel and at this time, we would like to go ahead and vote on accepting or not accepting the actual settlement that is on the table,” Commissioner Bryan Davis said.

Commissioner Scottie Powell made a motion to vote on the settlement but made comments about the settlement and the process the Commissioners have been working on to reach the settlement.

“As we are looking at these different pieces of these opioid settlements and the different players in the opioid epidemic, it’s very nuanced and learning a lot of who did what,” Powell said. “Janssen is specifically a manufacturer, so kind of how I view it, they are a little different than the ones who marketed it, pushed and distributed it these pills down into our community. Did they create them? Sure they did and I think they have some liability which is why they are willing to settle.”

Powell made the motion to vote to join in on the settlement, with all three commissioners approving the motion. Powell also made a motion to allow Commissioner Davis to sign the participation agreement for the board to join with all commissioners approving.

“This is totally contingent on participation levels, there’s a certain number, but it is subject to change depending on participation. Now with us opting-in, The 70 percent number for Scioto County would be $306,000 and then there are also monies that will go into the region that we will be able to petition for at a later date,” Davis said. “A 100 percent participation takes us to $437,000, to give you an idea. What that would take is for all the litigation participants in Ohio to opt-in.”

The commissioners also gave an update on other settlements stating they are actively working on cases and are waiting for their day in court. The Scioto County Commissioner’s made another important announcement at Thursday’s meeting regarding Job and Family Services.

The Ohio Benefits System will be down Friday, December 3 until Monday, December 6 at 8 a.m. due to a software upgrade.

“County staff will have no access to any SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, or Long-Term Care cases during this time,” said Davis.

The self-service portal will be down as well. Customers will not be able to upload documents or apply online during the outage time.

If anyone has questions about their cases, They are encouraged to contact Job & Family Services on Monday, December 6, after 8 a.m.

“However, if you need to apply, re-certify, or renew your benefits for cash, food, or medical assistance during the outage, you can submit a paper application at the JFS office – 710 Court Street, Portsmouth,” said Davis. “Please note, the paper application will not be processed until the system is back online Monday. SNAP and TANF still require a telephone interview and an interview appointment will be scheduled upon processing of the paper application.”

A drop box is located outside of the entrance of the agency lobby for submissions made during non-business hours.

“If you need food while the system is unavailable, please contact a local food pantry,” said Davis.

The outage will not affect the Child Support Enforcement Agency, Adult Protective Servies, and Gas Voucher program.

“They apologize for any inconvenience,” said Davis.

Following the system shutdown announcement, the commissioners also discussed how nicely decorated the county is for the holidays.

“I’m all over the state and I see more Christmas cheer, more holiday decorations, in this county than anywhere else,” said Powell. “So many different groups are doing things to celebrate the season so this holiday season get out and support those groups who are truly making this a Hallmark town.”

The commissioners have also placed a light up mailbox in the lobby for children to send letters to Santa.

“We ask children if they would like to write letters to Santa,” said Davis. “We know him, and are very close with him, so we know we can get it to him.”

The letters can also be mailed to the commissioners at 602 Seventh Street, Portsmouth, Ohio, 45662.

“It has to say Letter to Santa on it,” said Davis. “We are excited to be able to do this and I don’t know about you but when I was a kid, Toy Town would have your letters read over the radio and you would sit there for an hour waiting for your letter to be read.”

The commissioners will be reading the letters to Santa during their meetings.

“We will be reading the letters here and then what we can do is forward it to Santa with our comments,” said Davis. “We love being able to do this.”

Ohio Benefits System to be down December 3

By Darian Gillette

Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved