DuPage County will spend opioid settlement money on treatments; Families of victims call for a vote

CHICAGO (CBS) – Landmark lawsuit will raise $760 million for the State of Illinois to fight the opioid crisis in hopes of breaking the cycle of addiction and saving lives.

How will this money be spent? CBS 2’s Marissa Perlman found out where those settlement dollars are going.

In February, the three largest drug distributors and drugmakers, Johnson & Johnson, agreed to pay the $26 billion settlement that claims to have helped fuel the opioid epidemic across the country.

That money is finally arriving this week in communities across the state, and now we know how that money will be spent.

DuPage County families who lost someone to the opioid crisis are now pushing for transparency. They want a vote on how their community will spend that money.

Kathy and Robb Zander lost their son, John, in 2016 when he took a drug containing fentanyl and died instantly. Since then, they have been fighting to raise awareness of the crisis.

Now, state documents show that much of the money here in Illinois will go to funding drug treatment and opioid reversal medications. Think: Narcan, Naloxone Methadone, and Suboxone treatment facilities — a strategy that doesn’t sit well with Zanders, because families won’t see a dime of this lawsuit.

“Families are the ones who need support right now,” Robb said. “Long-term treatment centers are not the answer to something like this. It’s kids partying on the weekends and dying, and we don’t think a methadone clinic is the answer to that. .”

The opioid epidemic has hit DuPage County hard in the past two years, with 214 people dying from opioid overdoses.


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