Governor Lamont and Attorney General Tong Urge General Assembly To Approve Legislation Dedicating Opioid Settlement Funds Toward Eradicating the Epidemic
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and Attorney General William Tong are urging the Connecticut General Assembly to adopt legislation the governor filed as part of his 2022 package of legislative proposals that will take the share of funding Connecticut is receiving from the recently approved $26 billion multistate agreements involving several pharmaceutical companies over their roles in creating and fueling the opioid epidemic and dedicate it towards evidence-based strategies that fight to eradicate the crisis.
Connecticut’s share of the funds is expected to amount to approximately $300 million over the next 18 years, with the first payment anticipated in July 2022.
“I’m proud to work with such a great team of partners in Connecticut that has been working hard to fight this crisis,” Governor Lamont said. “My administration presented this bill because we want to be 100% sure that these dollars are spent in the most effective way possible with input from the community, and in a way that’s transparent. We have to do everything we can to support those in our communities suffering from addiction, and I will continue to make this a priority for our administration.”
“Connecticut will see millions of dollars in opioid funding through two historic settlements we reached this past year with some of the largest players in the addiction industry, including distributors Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen, and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson,” Attorney General Tong said. “These settlements – among the largest in U.S. history – will bring billions of dollars to communities across the country to begin to heal the devastation of the opioid epidemic. We fought hard throughout these negotiations to safeguard these funds with explicit guidelines to ensure this money is spent to save lives, support victims and their families, and fight the opioid epidemic. This legislation is an important step forward in that process, and I look forward to working with legislators and stakeholders to save lives and control this crisis.”
“Working to eradicate the opioid crisis requires a multifaceted approach inclusive of prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services,” Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner-designate Nancy Navarretta said. “These settlement dollars will help us to amplify our community and state partnerships to address the effects of the opioid epidemic on individuals, families and communities.”
“As co-chair of Connecticut’s Alcohol and Drug Policy Council, the Department of Children and Families plays an integral role in understanding and interpreting the effects of the opioid crisis on children, youth and families,” Connecticut Department of Children and Families Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes said. “Together with our partners at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, we work diligently in assessing such impact across the lifespan. Recent events that involve direct dangers of the intersect between opioids and children speak volumes to the devastation this causes to families. The settlement reflects Connecticut’s commitment to addressing this scourge on our communities.”
The proposal – House Bill 5044, An Act Implementing the Governor’s Budget Recommendations Regarding the Use of Opioid Litigation Proceeds – will:
- Establish an Opioid Settlement Advisory Committee comprised of state and local government experts, health care professionals, individuals and families with lived experience, and a leader in racial equity in public health. The committee, in consultation with the Attorney General and relevant state agencies and stakeholders, will develop an investment plan and maintain transparency in the use of all settlement funds.
- Codify the non-lapsing Opioid Settlement Fund established to deposit the McKinsey settlement funding in April 2021 and for other opioid settlement deposits with the following additional requirements:
- Detailed annual reporting on grants made from the fund;
- Funding recommendations must be evidence-based; and
- Only municipalities that agree to the terms of the settlement can receive funding.
- The provision establishing the Advisory Committee also requires:
- Settlement dollars be spent on substance use disorder abatement infrastructure, programs, services, supports and resources for prevention, treatment, recovery and harm reduction;
- Public involvement, accountability and transparency in allocating and accounting for the moneys in the fund;
- Details committee membership including agency heads, legislative leaders, Office of the Attorney General, municipal representatives, appointments of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services commissioner and requires appointments be made not later than October 1 for two-year terms;
- Quarterly public meetings and an equal number of state and municipal voting members; and
- Termination of the committee when all settlement deposits have been received and disbursed, unless the Attorney General certifies that additional funding is anticipated.
Recovery services are available in Connecticut. To be connected to substance use treatment and services call 1-800-563-4086 or visit liveloud.org.
**Download: Fact sheet summarizing House Bill 5044