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More opioid settlement money – $13.5 million – is coming into Connecticut

Photos of fentanyl victims are on display at The Faces of Fentanyl Memorial at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters on September 27, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia.
Alex Wong
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Photos of fentanyl victims are on display at The Faces of Fentanyl Memorial at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters on Sept. 27, 2022, in Arlington, Virginia.

Another batch of funding from a $26 billion opioid distributor settlement is making its way into Connecticut.

State officials said Wednesday that $13.5 million will soon come to Connecticut cities and towns to help fund opioid remediation efforts. The payment is among roughly $300 million planned over the next 18 years through a settlement with opioid distributors Cardinal, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.

During a media event in New London Wednesday morning, officials expressed gratitude for the funding while acknowledging the ongoing damage opioids inflicted on communities across the United States.

"There is not enough money to relieve the suffering of countless numbers of families, loved ones and communities impacted by the opioid epidemic," New London Mayor Michael Passero said in a statement.

According to the state Office of the Attorney General, New London received an initial payment of nearly $17,000 in September. It will receive a second similar-sized payment on Oct. 31. Over 18 years, the city is slated to receive as much as $475,000.

Passero said the money will be used to continue to fund local efforts to offer treatments and ongoing care to people suffering from opioid misuse disorder.

He also said he will ask City Council to establish a special revenue account for this round of money and for the scheduled funds to be received going forward.

"A dedicated fund is essential to ensure a sustainable revenue source to fund opioid-related initiatives for years to come," Passero said.

Over the past two years, Connecticut and many other states have reached agreements with the opioid industry for payments aimed a blunting the ongoing impact of opioid misuse. To date, those lawsuits have resulted in settlements yielding more than $40 billion for states nationwide to fight the opioid epidemic.

"That money is being put to use right now in communities across Connecticut to save lives and stop the opioid epidemic," state Attorney General William Tong said in a statement. "Towns like New London are showing that we can use this money to prevent future tragedy."

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@ctpublic.org.