Kemp signs major opioid legislation to secure $636M for treatment, prevention

Published: May. 2, 2022 at 5:24 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday signed legislation to ensure the state and local governments get $636 million for opioid treatment and prevention.

The funds are made available by the $26 billion multistate opioid settlement with Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen – the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – and opioid manufacturer and marketer Johnson & Johnson.

“Like every other state, the opioid crisis has hit Georgia communities and families hard and with lasting effect,” said Gov. Brian Kemp. “These funds will help us fight the good fight against the disease of addiction, help us make our communities more secure, and help us see that justice is done for the victims of these opioid manufacturers and distributors.”

Fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses have been increasing nationally and in Georgia in recent years and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Opioids, specifically fentanyl, appear to be driving these increases.

Under the national settlement agreement, the state is required to enact a litigation bar that prevents local governments from pursuing any further legal action in the future.

With SB 500 signed into law, the state will receive an initial allocation of $66 million from the Johnson & Johnson funds within 90 days, as opposed to over a multi-year period. In addition, more than 230 local governments, public service entities, hospital associations, sheriffs’ offices and community service boards are positioned to receive financial relief through regional distribution or direct payment of funds.