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Illinois to get $760 million in opioid settlement

The state of Illinois is set to get $760 million in a settlement with opioid drug marketers and a manufacturer.

The governor is forming and advisory board on how to spend the money.

The board will meet to discuss ways of spending Illinois’ share of funds from a national $26 billion settlement against four large pharmaceutical companies; distributors Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.

Illinois’ share, $760 million, is set to be paid out in smaller increments over the next 18 years.

During a Friday news conference, Gov. J.B. Pritzker explained his executive order creating a new advisory board.

“This executive order establishes an office of opioid settlement administration and cements a framework for making the best use of these new resources,” the governor said.

The board will meet to discuss ways of spending the funds to ensure there are resources for those hit hardest by the opioid crisis, he said.

“I am taking executive action to ensure these new resources truly address the best interventions, prevention, and remediation for the communities hurt by these harms,” Pritzker said. “Everyone’s life is worth saving, and this administration will leave no stone unturned as we work to bring the opioid epidemic to an end.”

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said it is essential to ensure the funds Illinois received through this and any future settlements are allocated equitably to counties and municipalities.

“Just as important as obtaining these resources to abate the crisis is making sure the resources are distributed equitably,” Raoul said. “Even in instances where victims’ and survivors’ addiction has transitioned from pharmaceutical opioids to illicit drug use.”

Illinois reported over 2,200 opioid-related deaths in the first three quarters of 2020, a 36% increase from 2019. In Chicago in 2020, nearly 1,300 people died of an opioid overdose.

The historic $26 billion settlement marks the culmination of three years of negotiations to resolve more than 4,000 claims of state and local governments across the country, according to a news release from the Pritzker’s office. It is the second largest multi-state agreement in U.S. history.

This article originally appeared on The Center Square.

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