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JUUL settlement funds will be directed to Connecticut behavioral health organizations

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong
Molly Ingram
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong

Connecticut’s behavioral health organizations are getting a boost in funding to curb youth vaping. It’s coming from the state’s share of settlement funds from JUUL Labs.

Lawmakers unanimously passed legislation to approve the plan earlier this week.

State Attorney General William Tong said Connecticut will get about $16 million from JUUL. It will all go to the state’s five Regional Behavioral Health Action Organizations.

“When we brokered that settlement, we said that money, it's not opioid money,” Tong said. “ It's vaping and nicotine cessation money and prevention money. That should go directly to addressing this issue.”

The Regional Behavioral Health Action Organizations educate their community about mental health and substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery.

The RBHAO’s are primarily funded by federal grants from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

The entire $440 million settlement will be split between 34 states. New York will receive nearly $113 million.

Connecticut is also expecting money from other drug-related settlements. The state will receive money from pharmaceutical companies and distributors to fight the opioid epidemic.

“Through our multistate settlements with JUUL Labs and the addiction industry, Connecticut will see hundreds of millions of dollars over the next several years to combat the opioid epidemic and curb youth vaping and nicotine use," Tong said. "I thank the legislature for their unanimous support of this legislation to erect strict safeguards to ensure these funds are used to support evidence-based treatment, prevention, and recovery.”

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.