NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In the fight against the opioid epidemic, Tennessee will receive more than $600 million over the next 18 years following a landmark national opioid settlement.
Metro Nashville will be getting $23 million over the same time frame. The city has seen deadly and non-fatal overdoses rise for the last three years, which has only worsened during the past several months.
After years of litigation and negotiations, Mayor John Cooper hailed the settlement and praised Metro’s leadership role. “Through it all, we were fortunate to have a lead role at the table. We won these funds at no cost to the county taxpayer. My administration and Metro departments are committed to using these funds to help save lives," he said.
Initially, funds will focus on life-saving practices, such as improving early diagnosis and detection, supporting linkage to treatment and promoting retention throughout the recovery process.
Of the $613 million going to the state, $242 million is being split between counties. Statewide more than 150 local governments joined the settlement, including every county and all cities with populations of 25,000 or more.
Almost all litigating local governments nationwide are participating in the $26 billion opioid settlements between three drug distributors: AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson and opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.
“Help is on the way,” said Attorney General Herbert Slatery. “Our objective — and the reason we have aggressively held these companies accountable from the start- is to abate the crisis in Tennessee by providing direct assistance to those hit the hardest. We are grateful to our AG colleagues and our state and local leaders for their help and cooperation.”