Dartmouth to receive more than $1 million in opioid prevention funds
The Town of Dartmouth will receive more than $1.1 million in cumulative payments over 16 years as part of a statewide settlement with opioid distributors and manufacturers, according to the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.
The funding is part of a $26 billion settlement of a national lawsuit the town entered last year against drug distributors Cardinal, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson & Johnson, which manufactured and marketed opioids.
“It’s nice to see this [litigation] somewhat coming to an end,” said Town Administrator Shawn MacInnes. “Hopefully this can help us start to help our community in this fight against the opioid addiction.”
Between 2015 and 2020, Dartmouth saw 38 opioid-related deaths, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
In 2019 alone, Dartmouth police reported 73 overdoses taking place within the town limits and 10 deaths.
“It’s a broad pandemic a lot of people have been affected by,” MacInnes said.
Proceeds of the legal settlement will be directed to confront the opioid crisis through prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery programs, according to the AG’s office.
Where that funding goes will be determined through collaboration with the town's various departments, MacInnes said.
Of course, he noted, it’s all dependent on just how much Dartmouth will get per year.
According to the AG’s office, Dartmouth is slated to get $130,186 this year. The office stated in an attached FAQ that funds are expected to start flowing to towns in the spring and summer of 2022.
Some preliminary ideas include supporting the police department, drug safety education, partnering with nonprofits that provide addiction support, and programming through the Youth Advocate’s office.
Ultimately, MacInnes said, settlement funds will go “toward something productive.”
“There’s a lot of ways we can disperse the money to help the community,” MacInnes said. “We’ll use this as effectively as we can.”