Use opioid settlement funds to fight opioids

A $ 26 billion reconciliation with opioid producers may be imminent, so some public health experts have agreed with a tobacco company in 1998 to save government spending runaway and more lives. It is quoted as a warning that you missed the opportunity.

Only a small portion of tobacco payments in excess of $ 200 billion are aimed at preventing smoking in many states and helping people quit smoking. Instead, much of the money helps balance the state budget, lay fiber optic cables, and repair roads.

And the reconciliation was successful in many ways — smoking rates have dropped significantly — tobacco is blamed on the deaths of more than 480,000 Americans annually.


Bradley D. Stein, director of the RAND Corporation’s Opioid Policy Center, said: “And I think it’s important to use opioid settlements wisely.”

Local lawyers announced this week that they are on the verge of reconciliation with three US drug distributors and pharmaceutical companies Johnson & Johnson.

The deal will be part of an ongoing effort to address the national opioid addiction and overdose crisis. Prescription drugs and illicit drugs such as heroin and illegally manufactured fentanyl have killed more than 500,000 people in the United States since 2000. The number of cases reached a record high in 2020.

If approved, the settlement could be the largest of many of the opioid proceedings proceeding nationwide. It is expected to bring more than $ 23 billion in mitigation and mitigation efforts to help addicts receive treatment along with other programs to deal with the crisis. Money comes in 18 years of payment and will be the largest amount in the next few years.


Groups such as advocacy organizations and public health professionals are asking the government to sign a set of principles on how to use the settlement. They include setting up a dedicated fund to combat epidemics with settlements and ensuring that it does not just replace other sources of funding within the budget.

The group points out that many state and local governments have already reduced drug use and behavioral health programs due to the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic. And government officials may want to fill the budget holes with money.

Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said it was important to spend money to combat the opioid tragedy as the overdose epidemic is intensifying.

Last year there was a record 93,000 fatal overdose from all US drugs. Most of them were associated with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that has medical uses but is illegally produced.


“Everyone is excited and a little worried at the same time,” Schaffstein said of the expected funding. “I’m a little worried that they’ll be wasted.”

Rand Corporation’s Stein said it’s important to spend money on initiatives that have proven to be effective, such as treating addiction and using drugs to stop overdose.

“We know the treatment works,” he said. “We know that naloxone seems to be very important in preventing death from overdose …. There is no silver bullet. It may vary from community to community.”

Looking back at the tobacco settlement, Stein said there were no guide rails in place to ensure that all the money was used as intended.

“I think we’ve learned from history, or at least expect it, but I think it’s naive to think that if we take our eyes off the ball, it won’t happen again,” Stein said.



Finley reported from Norfolk, Virginia, and Mulvihill from Cherry Hill, NJ.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Use opioid settlement funds to fight opioids

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