The opioid abuse epidemic in Guilford County – and across the country – rages on, but there’s some good news when it comes to that battle. Guilford County government, which originally expected to get about $20 million from a lawsuit settlement with opioid makers and distributors, has been informed that it will instead get nearly twice that amount.
State and local governments across the country collectively brought a massive lawsuit against major companies that were alleged to have contributed to and willfully fueled the national epidemic, which has claimed many lives through overdose and has ruined other lives in various ways.
For nearly two years, Guilford County has been anticipating $20 million in proceeds from that suit – to come in over a 20-year period – but now that number will be $39.2 million over that same period.
Guilford County Communications and Public Relations Director Julie Smith said the $20 million the county has been expecting turned out to be just the start.
“There have been two waves of settlement funds announced,” Smith said. “The initial wave was for the $20 million.”
She added that the $39.2 million is the “updated number from the state which reflects recent settlements.”
Guilford County officials plan to use the nearly $40 million over the next two decades to repair some of the damage that opioid abuse has done to the county and the people and the families in it.
In a “State of the County address” delivered last week, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston made the ongoing battle a point of emphasis. He stated that there is “strategic planning work underway with providers, advocates, and survivors for the $39.2 million in opioid settlement funds … to save lives, stop the suffering, reduce the stigma and address the ongoing impacts of the opioid epidemic.”