Bristol County to Get Nearly $25 Million in Opioid Settlement
Cities and towns in Bristol County will be receiving more than $24 million over 17 years as part of an opioid lawsuit settlement that will net $525 million for the state, the Attorney General's Office announced this week.
That includes nearly $5 million in total for New Bedford and over $4 million for Fall River, along with nearly $3 million for Taunton and more than $213,000 for the county itself.
The funding is part of a $26 billion settlement of a national lawsuit against the largest drug distributors in the U.S. — Cardinal, McKesson, Amerisource Bergen, and Johnson & Johnson — which made and marketed opioids.
All of the money awarded in the settlement will go toward resources for communities and families to address the impact of the opioid crisis.
Of the state's expected $525 million in funding, nearly half — more than $210 million — will go directly to municipalities, with the remaining $310 million destined for the state Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund.
The fund supports addiction prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery programs in Massachusetts.
Bristol County and its municipalities will receive a total of $24.6 million over 17 years.
This year alone, the county and every community in it will gain nearly $2.8 million, with New Bedford set to receive $558,431 and Fall River $497,864.
According to the A.G.'s office, the payments will start arriving this spring and summer, with more payments every July through 2038.
The amount allocated to each municipality was determined through a model based on federal data on opioid use disorder, overdose deaths and 2006-2016 opioid shipments for each region and community, the office stated.
A spokesperson for Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan's office stated that the city currently has no concrete plans for use of the money.
Meanwhile New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said he appreciates the work put in by state Attorney General Maura Healey and her team.
“We’ve made significant progress in fighting the scourge of opioid addiction, but there is still much work to be done,” he added. “We will use the funds to intensify and expand the prevention and intervention efforts of the Greater New Bedford Opioid Task Force, which have proven to be effective.”
“Massachusetts led the nation in taking on the opioid industry, and we will lead the nation in delivering prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery,” said Healey.
“Cities and towns across our state worked together to secure more than half a billion dollars, and we are committed to using every dollar to provide the services that families need.”
State Rep. Bill Straus, who represents the 10th Bristol District including New Bedford and Fairhaven, stated: "The horrible toll from opioid addiction on lives lost and families in crisis can never be undone, but obtaining financial recoveries from those who were involved is an important part of the solution."
"I would like to thank our local officials for their hard work and collaboration with the Attorney General's Office in securing these vital funds on the local level," Straus added.
Here's the list of total funding that Bristol County cities and towns can expect to receive:
Bristol County: $213,428
Fall River: $4,427,167
New Bedford: $4,965,742
North Attleborough: $1,339,334
Other SouthCoast towns in Plymouth County set to receive opioid settlement funding are as follows: