Waiting continues for opioid settlement money

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Posted at 7:04 AM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 08:08:19-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's millions of dollars heading to Tennessee that can help people addicted to opioids and prevent future addictions.

But even though drug companies have agreed to a massive $26 billion nationwide settlement, Tennessee's share of that money isn't supposed to arrive here until April.

In July, three opioid distributors and one manufacturer agreed to settle a multi-state, multi-billion dollar lawsuit.

Robin Steely says he was looking forward to money quickly coming to Tennessee to help people addicted to opioids, like his son.

The state attorney general's office detailed the payouts in a summary on its website.

It says Tennessee will be able to receive more than $613 million over 18 years, saying it would allow for a "substantial and immediate impact."

But because other states still have time to join the deal, which can change how much each state gets, that immediate impact won't happen until at least April 2022.

"It's tough because it doesn't take but one time — they've OD'ed, and they've died," Steely said. "With it coming over the borders now, he says its the easiest it's ever been to be able to get it."

Steely says his son has already been to four rehab facilities, which haven't helped. He says until the money can get to Tennessee and fund more treatment options, he'll try to help, but he says it's the money that matters.

"I try to be there for him the best I can, you know, that's all I can do," Steely said.