Attorney General Steve Marshall wants Alabama drug settlement to combat addiction
Alabama is among states that sued pharmaceutical companies, claiming their business practices fuel a deadly opioid crisis. The state will receive $276 million.
OZARK, Ala. (WTVY) -Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall hopes money received from settlements with huge pharmaceutical companies is directed to battle drug addiction and prevention.
“This money needs to be targeted directly to deal with the abatement of (the opioid) problem,” Marshall told WTVY News 4 during his visit to Ozark on Tuesday.
Alabama is among states that sued pharmaceutical companies, claiming their business practices fueled a deadly opioid crisis. The state will receive $276 million.
“We clearly have faced this issue as a country and Alabama is not immune,” Marshall said of opioid addiction.
Local governments will also share the unprecedented settlement.
“What we’re encouraging is for those groups to come together and identify what the issue is locally and try to work on that problem together,” General Marshall said.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates 107,622 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States during 2021, an increase of nearly 15% from 2020.
While discouraging, those statistics have an upside. That spike was only half of 2019′s increase, something Marshall attributes to more stringent opioid regulations.
Nonetheless, the problem remains powerful and worsened by Fentanyl, a drug up to 100 times more powerful that morphine, according to the Federal Drug Administration.
Despite tragedy caused by the opioid epidemic Marshall still believes many don’t recognize seriousness of the issue.
“The number of lives that we’ve lost, the addiction issues that exists in communities still are not fully embraced, particularly during the time of COVID when the opioid problem was still there but not talked about much…we’re beginning to see that rise to the top again,” he said.
Lawmakers are expected to appropriate the drug company settlement during their 2023 session that begins in February.
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