Michigan to get nearly $800M in opioid settlement to help with prevention, treatment

Money will be given to Michigan over 18 years

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced how the state will use money from a settlement in the opioid epidemic.

LANSING, Mich.Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced how the state will use money from a settlement in the opioid epidemic.

Nessel was part of a group that went after top pharmaceutical companies. Those companies have agreed to pay out $26 billion and Michigan will get part of that settlement. Michigan will get nearly $800 million.

“I woke up feeling so sick I wanted to die. It was the worst feeling I ever had and I realized very quickly, ‘Oh my God, I’m addicted,’” Nessel said.

Nessel said she was once addicted to opioids. A doctor prescribed them when she gave birth to her twins via C-section in 2003.

“It was a painful process, having to wean myself off of them -- but, you know, nobody warned me. Nobody said, ‘be careful.’ Nobody said that you could get addicted if you’re just taking these pills in accordance to your doctor’s orders,” she said.

Nessel weaned herself off of the pills by lowering the dosage until she no longer needed them. Since 2019, she took legal action against the country’s three largest pharmaceutical distributors. The settlement will give Michigan a historic $776 million over the next 18 years.

Read: DEA warns of counterfeit pills containing deadly fentanyl, meth

“I’m relieved and remember, that’s just half of the money that’s going directly to the municipalities and the other half goes to the state so that can then be appropriated,” Nessel said.

The money will be distributed as early as April and every July thereafter. Each municipality will receive a dollar amount based on a number of factors. The funds must be used for opioid mediation, like disorder treatment, recovery support, addiction prevention and first responder support.

“I would start an aftercare, or preventative services with those that are already addicted and how do you get them counseling and treatment and a path forward,” Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard said.

Bouchard shared some of the ways his residents would benefit from the additional money in the fight against the opioid pandemic. Bouchard and other law enforcement and county executives joined Nessel when she made the announcement on Monday (March 7).

“I know the experiences too many other people have had. I know the concept of being dope sick and I understand how hard it is,” Nessel said. “You need help and serious help and that’s what hopefully the municipalities, counties and the state will be able to provide with these funds.”

Nessel said the money is not going to replace the lives that have been lost by the opioid epidemic, but it will bring the state one step closer to preventing further loss of life.

In 2020 more than 2,000 Michigan residents died as a result of opioids.

Read: More opioid crisis coverage

About the Authors:

Evrod Cassimy is the morning anchor for Local 4 News Today. He joined WDIV in August of 2013. He is an award winning journalist and a six-time Emmy Award nominee. Evrod was born in Michigan but grew up in the Chicagoland area.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.