Tri-Town to receive nearly half million in opioid prevention funds

Apr 8, 2022

Nearly half a million dollars has been secured for the Tri-Town as part of the state’s $525 million legal settlement with opioid drug distributors and Johnson & Johnson, Rep. William Straus, D-Mattapoisett, has announced. 

Funding will total $146,765 for Marion, $177,399 for Mattapoisett and $138,088 for Rochester, according to projections from Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. 

Initial payments to the cities and towns are expected to begin by this summer and will continue for 18 years, Straus said.

The settlements came, Healey’s office said, after an investigation found the three opioid distributors sent thousands of suspicious orders without regard for their legitimacy, and that Johnson & Johnson misled patients and doctors about their addictive effects.

The proceeds of the legal settlement will be directed to confront the opioid crisis through prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery programs, Straus said. 

From 2015 to 2020, Marion reported six opioid-related overdose deaths, Mattapoisett had 14 and Rochester reported five, according to state statistics. 

Of the more than $500 million settlement, $210 million of the Massachusetts share of the litigation will be set aside for cities and towns. 

The national opioid crisis continues to increase year after year, with more than 68,000 overdose deaths occurring in 2020. 

That number includes more than 2,300 deaths that occurred in Massachusetts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.