CAMPBELL COUNTY, TN. (WLAF)-Campbell County has been awarded just over $235,000 as part of a settlement reached with manufactures and distributors of opioids.
The funds come as other opioid lawsuits are still being settled across the nation.
Pharmaceutical distributors AmerisourceBergen Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc., and McKesson Corporation along with opioid manufacturer, Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, have agreed to a $26 billion nationwide settlement for their part in the opioid epidemic.
Money was distributed to the states involved in the settlement. After that, funds were allocated to the counties. Tennessee received $31,425,152.80. Campbell County received $235,452.32, placing its award among the top 30 percent of the state’s 95 counties.
Tennessee county awards were determined using a formula that took into account the county’s 2020 census, opioid prescriptions per person over a three year period, nonfatal overdoses over a three year time period and fatal overdoses over a three year time period, according to the opioid agreement settlement.
County commissions will make the final determination on the distribution of the money but will be aided by recommendations from coalitions established to guide them. The first payment came in a lump sum with yearly payments to follow. Tennessee is expected to receive over $600 million in the next 18 years, according to a press release for the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office. The funds are earmarked for services aimed at the prevention and treatment of addiction.
“This money must be spent a certain way,” said Campbell County General Sessions Judge Bill Jones who sits on the local coalition.
Locally, the Coalition of Recovery Resources (CORR) will be helping the Campbell County Commission allocate the dollars. CORR is comprised of community representatives and stakeholders in the local addiction/ recovery community.
CORR is developing an application process for those interested in accessing the funds.
“The uses (of the funds) are specific,” said Jones.
After CORR reviews an application it will make a recommendation to the county commission, acting as a filter for the requests, according to Rae Lawson, judicial assistant to Jones.
At the end of the day, 100 percent of the decision is up the commission,” Jones said.
Groups hoping to access the money will need to apply once CORR has finalized its application process. “We want to be careful with it (the money,)” Jones said. “Wherever it goes must be legitimate.”
There are also reporting requirements as the money is spent. The collation has assumed the responsibility for that. “The reporting requirements are stringent,” Jones said.
CORR will be working with community and the commission to use the money in the most productive way for all involved.
“No matter how much money our county gets, it will be a drop in the bucket compared to the damage done,” Jones said.
(WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED 11/9/2023- 6AM)