Bloomington, Normal, McLean County plot opioid strategies with settlement money
Bloomington, Normal and McLean County governments expect to receive more than $3 million over the next two decades to combat opioid addiction.
Local governments across the country are sharing in a $26 billion settlement,following a class-action lawsuit against drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and three opioid distributors.
McLean County government expects to get about $120,000 per year, according to county administrator Cassy Taylor. That would come to nearly $2.2 million over the next 18 years.
The money must go toward some type of opioid abuse treatment or prevention. Taylor said the McLean County Health Department will help with opioid education and outreach. She said the county also will supply to the public and nonprofits the opioid antidote Narcan and other medications, along with training on how to use them.
“We have tried to hit all of the major areas that were outlined in the acceptable use forms that were provided by the settlement,” Taylor said.
Taylor sad the county plans to help fund an opioid prevention coordinator position that would provide training and education, likely through a nonprofit organization.
The City of Bloomington figures to get an estimated $880,000 over the life of the settlement. Deputy city attorney Jeff Jurgens said the Bloomington Fire Department has purchased data analytic software to help overdose responses. He said the city also plans to buy equipment to detect and process fentanyl.
Primarily, Jurgens said the city plans to work with nonprofits that deal with drug addiction.
“We do believe the next step is to reach out to our nonprofits and our local agencies to see how we can partner with them and use the funds to potentially increase the services that they are providing,” Jurgens said during a June 12 city council meeting.
The Town of Normal expects to get about $20,000 per year over 18 years. City manager Pam Reece said the town will discuss how to use the money in the next budget cycle, but suggested first responder training for opioid overdoses may be a starting point.
The state of Illinois expects to get $760 million over the 18 years of the settlement.
Taylor said the county also expects to receive funding from opioid settlements with drug makers Teva and Allergan and pharmacies CVS and Walgreens. Illinois is expected to receive $518 million of the $17.3 billion in agreements over 15 years. Taylor said the county's allotment depends on several factors, including attorney fees, state distribution formulas and the number of participating local governments.