Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Opioid relief is coming to Philly after a major national settlement. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Philly to get at least $186 million to fight opioid crisis after national settlement

The figure comes from PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office, which won the city’s buy-in on the settlement before a midnight deadline on Jan. 26.


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After criticizing the national opioid settlement, officials from Philadelphia along with those from every county in Pennsylvania, signed onto a deal that’s expected to provide $1 billion to the state for drug treatment and prevention, and wrap up one chapter of legal battles over the costs of the decades-long opioid crisis.

After months of resistance from Mayor Jim Kenney and District Attorney Larry Krasner, who had insisted the settlement would not be enough to compensate for a city hit hardest by the drug epidemic, PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro and other AGs won Philadelphia’s buy-in before a midnight deadline on Wednesday, Jan. 26.

According to the AG’s office, the city’s share comes to at least $186 million. The mayor’s office said Philadelphia will receive extra funding due to “the scale of the impact and devastation” that the opioid crisis has inflicted on the city and its residents. 

In 2020, Philadelphia recorded its second highest death toll from drug overdoses: 1,214 people died, and 86% of those deaths involved an opioid. 

Shapiro said that the funding will begin flowing in as soon as April to “jumpstart programs and ramp up staffing to save the lives of those struggling with opioid addiction.” 

“This agreement marks the most significant influx of resources to our Commonwealth to address this epidemic, jet-fueled by greedy pharmaceutical companies,” Shapiro said in a statement on Thursday, Jan. 27. 

The $26 billion national settlement is meant to resolve several thousand lawsuits against drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and the country’s three major pharmaceutical distributors: AmerisourceBergen, which has its headquarters in Conshohocken, Texas-based McKesson, and Cardinal Health in Ohio. 

Johnson & Johnson has said the crisis is a “tremendously complex public health issue,” and that it stopped selling prescription opioids in the U.S. as part of “ongoing efforts to focus on transformational innovation.”

In the Philadelphia region, the four suburban counties will receive up to $147.7 million combined, the AG’s office said.

The maximum payouts possible break down as: $45 million for Bucks, $19.2 million for Chester, $48.5 million for Delaware, and $35 million for Montgomery.

Chester County board of commissioners chair Marian Moskowitz said last month that she is especially interested in “increasing the county’s support of prevention efforts,” which could involve public awareness campaigns. 

The settlement money is to be used for programs and services such as treatment of opioid use disorder, distribution of medication like Naloxone to reverse overdoses, and educational outreach to prevent the over-prescribing of opioids, and discourage misuse. 

“While no dollar amount will bring back what we have lost, this settlement was negotiated to allocate funding to states and local communities who have been most impacted by this crisis, and will provide more resources for treatment than any previous settlement. I look forward to seeing the progress these resources will make in neighborhoods, treatment facilities, and the lives of so many,” Shapiro said in a statement.


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