Barnstable County Will Receive Opioid Settlement Funds

HYANNIS – Barnstable County will be receiving funds from an opioid settlement to compensate for the impact of the opioid crisis.

Assistant County Administrator Vaira Harik said that funds from opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson along with three distributors are starting to flow to states that signed settlement agreements.   

Harik said Massachusetts will receive $550 million from the settlement, with 60% of the money to be distributed by the state through the Department of Public Health.

Forty percent of the funds will go to municipalities throughout the Commonwealth, with Barnstable County seeing $8.4 million.

According to Harik, the money will come in 17 allotments. The first allotment to Barnstable County and the 15 towns will be for $947,000. Half of that amount will be distributed on an annual basis over the next 16 years.

Harik said the Regional Substance Addiction Council will meet to discuss possible regional approaches to making the best use of the funds as well as potential ways to cooperate with the towns.

The virtual meeting is open to the public will take place May 5 at 3:30pm.

Harik said that there will be more opioid settlements and now a structure has been set for how the money will be divided between the state and its towns.

She also said that although opioids are an important issue, the major substance use problem on the Cape comes from a different source.

“Opioids are the index case for a lot of interest and a lot of concern and obviously fatalities, but the lion’s share of morbidity and mortality as we say in the business, comes from alcohol abuse,” Harik said.

Commission Chair Sheila Lyons asked Harik for an update on settlements for families of people who had lost loved ones to the opioid crisis. Harik said she believed the majority of people in that situation became part of class action lawsuits.

By Brian Engles, Cape NewsCenter

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