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Majority of local governments in Michigan sign up for opiate settlement funds

prescription pill bottle
Melissa Benmark
/
Michigan Radio

A majority of eligible local governments in Michigan have signed up to receive payments under a multi-billion dollar settlement with opioid distributors.

Michigan could receive up to nearly $800 million in the settlement. That money would go to local governments to help address opiate addiction in their communities. But only if those local governments agree to participate.

“So we’re trying to get to a hundred percent participation,” said Joe Abood, a city attorney in Lansing, during a meeting in December to discuss the settlement. “That generates the most amount of dollars to the state of Michigan.”

Lansing city council members voted to join the settlement.

"I believe this is going to be the first step in winning this war on opioids, and provide some relief and some support to so many families.”
Sam Baydoun, Wayne County Commissioner

The Michigan Attorney General’s office helped negotiate the settlement agreement along with other states. Its office says most of the 277 eligible cities, townships and counties in the state have already registered to participate.

“There were so many families that were devastated with this opioid crisis,” said Sam Baydoun, a Wayne County commissioner who voted to join the settlement. “And I believe this is going to be the first step in winning this war on opioids, and provide some relief and some support to so many families.”

Money from the settlement will go to local governments to help pay for treatment and other services to cope with the impact of opiate addiction, and prevent future addictions. According to the terms of the settlement posted online, at least 85% of the funds received must go toward those programs.

Local government units initially had until January 2nd, 2022 to register for settlement money. The deadline has now been extended until January 26th.