City of Huntsville to allocate settlement proceeds to agencies involved in opioid crisis

WAFF 48's Romario Gardener reporting
Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 3:06 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The City of Huntsville will allocate proceeds from an opioid settlement to agencies involved with fighting the effects of opioid abuse.

The city will receive nearly $2 million over 10 years as part of a settlement from McKesson and a one-time payment of $982,235 from Janssen. The organizations that will receive funding include First Stop ($810,000), WellStone ($750,000) and the Huntsville Hospital Foundation ($850,000).

Tim Davis, president of First Stop, said the money would tackle the issue within the homeless population.

“This opioid settlement money is going to allow us to expand our capacity to ease you more easily identify people with especially substance abuse problems,” said Davis, “And hopefully, you know, accelerate getting them into the proper housing conditions.”

He said the money will also help in training staff members and creating programs.

“We looked at agencies we already partner with that also have programs geared toward fighting the opioid crisis, specifically those that combat homelessness or serve low-income populations,” Huntsville finance director, Penny Smith, said in a statement. “The settlements have guidelines that state they should benefit those who have been directly impacted by opioid abuse.”

Davis said the companies will work together because protecting those in need is a top priority, a sentiment Mayor Tommy Battle shares.

“Maybe next year, instead of having 105 people die from this opioid overdose, we can cut that number in half,” said Mayor Battle, “If we do, there are 50 More people walking the streets, and there’s 50 more people that we can work towards a solution to their problems.”

Some of the money received will also be used to purchase Naloxone to treat overdose patients.

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