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June 25, 2024
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County ponders how to spend $48M in opioid settlement money 

Options include drug abuse prevention, harm reduction, treatment, recovery

Santa Clara County Supervisors on Sept. 12 will discuss how to spend the nearly $50 million in opioid settlement cash the county will be getting to combat the fentanyl and opioid crisis.  

Taking the lead on the issue is Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who said she established the county’s first fentanyl working group two years ago after a 12-year-old child died of fentanyl poisoning. Chavez said so far, the county has $48 million to spend on the problem.  

Santa Clara County is getting a piece of a national, multibillion-dollar opioid settlement against drug manufacturers, distributors and retailers for their role in creating a state and national crisis. 

According to the county, they expect to receive money from seven settlements, though only two have been finalized—one with opioid manufacturer Janssen and one with distributors Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen. Settlements are pending with Allergan Finance, CVS, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Walgreens Co. and Walmart, and the county estimates they will be finalized “in the coming months.”

“Based on currently available information, it is estimated that the County could receive up to $45 million from the Janssen and distributors settlements over 18 years,” said the county in a report to the Board of Supervisors.  

Last week, San Francisco announced a $267 million settlement with Allergan, Teva and Walgreens. 

Santa Clara County is looking at four “domains” in which to spend the money: prevention, harm reduction, treatment services and recovery. This would include developing a “more robust” public awareness campaign about the dangers of opioids such as fentanyl, especially targeting youth and other vulnerable populations. 

The county also wants to increase access to lifesaving naloxone, which reverses overdoses, and fentanyl strips, which detect the drug so users know what they will be ingesting. The county also wants to increase services for youth and young adults.  

Chavez said San Jose has been designated a “fentanyl hub” by law enforcement.  

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors meets Tuesday at 9:30am in the County Government Center, 70 West Hedding St., San Jose.  

Copyright © 2023 Bay City News, Inc.  

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