HEALTH

Salt Lake County getting millions in opioid settlement

Apr 26, 2022, 5:46 PM | Updated: 9:05 pm
Salt Lake County will be receiving $57 million over the next 18 years from in opioid settlement....
Salt Lake County will be receiving $57 million over the next 18 years from in opioid settlement.

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County is getting millions of dollars from a massive opioid settlement.  The county will get $57 million over the next 18 years, according to Mayor Jenny Wilson and District Attorney Sim Gill, who announced the amount Tuesday.

“We know that 85% of the funding is required toward opioid abatement, ” said Mayor Wilson. “That’s education, that’s programs that support youth and families.” 

Wilson said it’s not known yet exactly where the rest of the money will go.

Opioid settlement

Salt Lake County is one of the 27 Utah counties that filed suit against some major opioid distributors and companies.

Gill says those companies had an overt role in the crisis.

“We had a group of corporations that were financially greedy, and they victimized communities,” Gill said.

According to Gill, the first payment could be here by the end of May. Another payment is expected to arrive early this summer. 

Gill says the lawsuit will hold those responsible for the problem accountable. 

“In 2018, we advised the county to sue big pharma because we were witnessing the devastating effects of corporate greed, the loss of lives and destruction of families throughout Salt Lake County,” he said in a press release. “This settlement holds accountable big pharma, so the taxpayer is not left with the costs of corporate selfishness. This is the first step to repair the wake of destruction left behind,”

Landmark settlement

The landmark settlement involves 46 states and thousands of local governments and several opioid manufacturers and distributors.

“Every day, individuals experiencing an opioid addiction are brought to the jail, often on non-violent charges,” said Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera in a press release. “The funding from this settlement will allow our community to help these individuals before they are arrested while also expanding in-custody treatment services. Keeping people out of the criminal justice system will lead to better long-term outcomes and treating individuals in custody will reduce the likelihood of that individual reoffending.” 

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