Historic opioid settlement to give $800 million to Michigan prevention, treatment services

Historic opioid settlement to give $800 million to Michigan prevention, treatment services
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 10:18 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan is one of multiple states to receive a portion of a $26 billion opioid settlement with three major pharmaceutical distributors.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel revealed details surrounding the settlement Monday. The state will get about $800 million, which will be split between state and local municipalities.

The executive director of Mid-Michigan Recovery Services said there should be somethings that should be at the top of the list when deciding how to allocate the money.

“We know that there is absolutely no amount of money that can adequately compensate a family for the loss of their loved one or erase the damage done to all those who battled opioid use disorder,” Nessel said.

“We should remember the families who are still grieving from this,” said Patrick Patterson. “Hopefully, they will get some encouragement.”

Patterson is the executive director Of Mid-Michigan Recovery Services, which provides drug and alcohol treatment services. While he’s happy with the settlement to help those with opioid addictions, he hopes some of the money will help with services insurance won’t cover.

“That gets you to things like treatment courts, recovery housing -- a lot of good examples of things that are essential and are not covered in insurance,” Patterson said.

Many would assume a doctor could help with opioid treatments, but Patterson said there’s a lot of red tape to get a doctor credentialed to handle those types of cases.

“It is more difficult for a new physician who wants to help with Medicaid-assisted treatment to do so than it is for them to buy a commercial business,” Patterson said. “I think MDs and DOs are well-positioned to take on some of this. I got no problem with increasing credential, but let’s not burden that when we’ve got over a hundred thousand people dying.”

Patterson said more people died from opioid overdose than they did from COVID during the first year of the pandemic. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, opioids killed more than 2,000 Michiganders in 2020.

“Lansing, and communities across Michigan, will have access to these settlement funds to help recover from devastating effects of the opioid epidemic,” said Lansing mayor Andy Schor. “It has taken a toll on our residents, our first responders, and our local health agencies.”

A breakdown of how the settlement money will be spent in Michigan can be found on the official Michigan Department of the Attorney General website here.

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