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Connecticut receives its first payment from historic opioid settlement

Ebong Udoma
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong with Liz Fitzgerald and Christine Gagnon, mothers of sons lost to opioids, at a Waterbury fire station on Monday, announced the arrival of the first $11 million to Connecticut from the landmark $26 billion opioid distributor settlement

Connecticut has started receiving money from the historic settlement with opioid manufacturer Johnson and Johnson and three major distributors.

Attorney General William Tong was in Waterbury to announce that the first $11 million had been paid. Most of the money would go to opioid treatment and prevention programs in the state's 169 cities and towns.

“That money will start to flow to Connecticut, to Waterbury, to other cities and towns and will start to make a difference in the ground and to fund vital public programs that are needed to confront this crisis,” Tong said.

Waterbury is one of the worst affected cities in the state with 51 overdose deaths already this year, said Mayor Neil O’Leary.

The $76,000 the city is getting would help with a Narcan distribution program, he said.

“Narcan saves lives every day. So, we are working with survivors and families to put Narcan in the hands of these families so that if there is an overdose within someone’s home, the families have access to it to save their loved ones life,” said O’Leary

The state should use some of the money to assist affected families, said Liz Fitzgerald of Southington, who lost two sons to opioid overdoses.

“I’d like to see this money being allocated also to the families that spent all their 401K and everything, and kind of gone a little bankrupt trying to get their children help and at the end of the day sometimes they lost all their funds,” Fitzgerald said.

Connecticut is to get $300 million from the $26 billion national opioid settlement over the next 18 years.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.