Submitted by Kevin Maloney, CCM.
The opioid epidemic has impacted every community across Connecticut and has taken a substantial toll on human life and families and at a very significant cost to municipalities. While we cannot undo the harm opioids have had on communities, we are grateful that towns and cities will receive the maximum payments – at least $300 million over the next 18 years — because of the efforts of Connecticut’s Attorney General William Tong, Mayor Neil O’Leary of Waterbury and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) as part of the National Opioids Settlement.
In October, CCM’s Board of Directors formed the Special Committee on Opioids Settlement to offer guidance to towns and cities on the receipt and dissemination of funds through the National Opioids Settlement. The state of Connecticut and many municipalities were a party to this settlement.
The CCM Special Committee on Opioids Settlement led by its Chair, Mayor O’Leary, worked directly with Attorney General Tong to facilitate an efficient process and maximize participation among municipalities. Virtually every Connecticut local government is now set to receive funding, and the level of Connecticut’s municipal participation in the settlement is among the highest of any state in the nation.
Luke Bronin, Mayor of Hartford and CCM President, initiated the idea for this CCM committee and appointed Mayor Neil O’Leary of Waterbury to chair of the CCM working group.
“The opioid crisis has been one of our nation’s most urgent and pressing matters,” said Mayor O’Leary. “Nearly 50,000 people die from opioid overdoses every year in the United States. This problem did not occur overnight, and the recent settlement with opioid manufacturers and distributors has paved the way to fight back against this epidemic.
“In order to help guide member towns and cities through the process,” noted Joe DeLong, CCM Executive Director and CEO, “CCM created a Special Committee that ensured our communities will receive every dollar eligible under the terms of the settlement.”
Attorney General William Tong announced the settlement back in July, which was made with Cardinal, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson & Johnson for $26 billion to be paid out over 18 years. Connecticut is getting $300 million, but a final figure is dependent on a few factors.
The agreement, which was negotiated by 14 states, will be used for opioid abatement, including expanding access to opioid use disorder prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery. In addition to this, they said that there will be significant changes to the industry to prevent this from happening again. It is worth noting that this settlement is separate from the suit against Purdue Pharma.
Municipalities had to opt-in to participate in this settlement, and the more that chose to participate, the more money the State and its towns and cities would receive,” said Mayor Bronin. “We’re proud of CCM’s cooperation with Attorney General Tong, and I want to thank the Attorney General’s office along with Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary for leading this effort to maximize Connecticut’s allotment of funds. This settlement money will help provide much-needed resources to support addiction treatment, recovery, and harm-reduction efforts for communities across our state.”