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Senate approves MacDonald bill to put opioid settlement funds to use

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved Sen. Michael D. MacDonald’s legislation to receive and distribute Michigan’s share of a nationwide opioid settlement for the next 18 years.

“The opioid epidemic continues to have a devastating impact on Michigan families and communities — destroying lives and killing thousands of people every year,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “We have a long road ahead to win the battle against opioid addiction, but it’s a fight we must take on. This legislation is part of a bipartisan effort to allow for the effective and secure administration of Michigan’s opioid settlement funds and help support opioid-related education, prevention and treatment throughout our state.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 104,000 people nationwide died from drug overdoses between September 2020 and September 2021 — a 15.9% increase from the previous 12-month period.

In Michigan, 2,933 people died during the same 12-month period — a 7% increase.

Michigan is set to receive nearly $800 million in opioid settlement payments over the next 18 years from three major pharmaceutical distributors, Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, along with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.

The national agreement is the result of years of negotiations to resolve more than 4,000 claims of alleged misuse and abuse of opioid products and is the second largest multistate agreement in U.S. history, second only to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

MacDonald’s bill, Senate Bill 993, would create the Michigan Opioid Healing and Recovery Fund to receive dollars from the national opioid settlement or any future opioid case. It would fund abatement practices and support for opioid use disorder and substance use disorder or mental health treatment and related efforts as required by the settlement.

SB 994 would create the Opioid Advisory Commission within the Legislative Council to annually review local, state, and federal initiatives and activities related to education, prevention, treatment, and services for people and families affected by substance use disorders and make funding and legislative recommendations to the Legislature.

SB 995 would create the Opioid Liability Litigation Act to fulfill the terms of the settlement agreement.

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