BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – The State of Texas continues its fight against opioid abuse. Last week, the state reached a $38 million settlement with McKinsey, one of the world’s largest consulting firms.
To date, Attorney General Ken Paxton has secured more than $618 million from multiple settlements that will be used to help communities affected by the opioid crisis.
“We want our cities and counties to support this deal to maximize the money that can come to Texas citizens in need,” Paxton said. “We ask our cities and counties to reflect. Look at this. And, to join a deal we’ve spent years negotiating. And that will only be the beginning of our fight against opioid addiction. We will continue to fight. We will continue to pursue these other companies, as well as some of the manufacturers that are currently bankrupt. And so you will see our office continue to seek resources from those companies that have caused this problem.
Bryan City Council will meet Tuesday night to discuss a resolution regarding an opioid bylaw with four (4) companies that manufacture and/or distribute opioids for their role in the opioid crisis. The agreements call for payments of $26 billion over eighteen (18) years, with Texas receiving nearly $1.5 billion. The distribution of funds is handled between an interstate arrangement and the subdivision in dispute, and the money is available to any city or county that joins the agreement.
The City of Bryan joined this agreement and adopted the Texas Term Sheet on December 14, 2021, with the passage of resolution #3968 which allows them to participate in a settlement with one of the four companies, Endo-Par .
Over the past decade, Texas has had its share of problems with opioids. According to data released by the CDC, five out of every 100,000 Texans have died from an opioid overdose. That compares to 13 in every 100,000 people nationwide.
Joy Alonzo is an assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center. She says the pandemic has placed a new spotlight on the opioid crisis.
“Things are getting dramatically worse, dramatically worse,” Alonzo said. “We don’t have all the public health data for 2020 yet, but by July it was well past 2020.”
Receiving a settlement is one issue, but how to spend it is another. The Bryan City Council has not determined what they plan to spend their share of the settlement on, but local organizations would like to see the money used for education, prevention, treatment and other lifesaving measures.
Carl Olivares is a Prevention Specialist at the Brazos Valley Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse (BVCASA). He says he would like to see more money allocated to education for young children and adults.
“Pre K, K, elementary, I mean the earliest that kids and teens and so on can be educated not just about opioids, but about drugs specifically,” Olivares said.
Alonzo would like to see money invested in more immediate lifesaving measures like the naloxone kits that Texas A&M provides.
“You put it in somebody’s nose (Open the top of the bottle, push it up) and watch it. I just saved somebody’s life. That’s all it takes,” Alonzo said, “I wish every citizen in the state of Texas had a naloxone first aid kit and knew how to use it.”
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