State Sen. Tony Bucco (R-Boonton) called on Gov. Phil Murphy to put millions of dollars headed back to the state as part of settlement with Purdue Pharma for its role in the opioid epidemic.
“In anticipation of this settlement which has been years in the making, both houses of the Legislature unanimously passed a bill establishing a framework for the use of opioid settlement funds to support addiction prevention and treatment programs,” said Bucco. “That bill is sitting on the Governor’s desk, and I am hopeful he will not waste any time signing it so we can get the money out on the street, helping people and saving lives as soon as possible.”
The bipartisan bill to create a 13-member council to appropriate moneys in the yet-unmade Opioid Recovery and Remediation fund cleared both chambers of the legislature with unanimous support. It’s been on Murphy’s desk since June 24.
Should he sign it, the more than $110 million the state expects to receive from the at least $4.5 billion settlement expected to be reached between the pharmaceuticals giant and 15 states who sued it for pushing OxyContin prescriptions.
“This settlement money should be put to use immediately, helping mitigate some of the harm caused by the irresponsible promotion and marketing of OxyContin by Purdue Pharma,” Bucco said. “This is only a drop in the bucket compared to the damage done, so it is vital that we get the most out of every dollar to fight the epidemic and prevent more tragic outcomes. It is the right thing to do.”
The long-fought legal battle over Purdue’s bankruptcy reorganization ended late Wednesday after the parties reached an agreement that will see troves of Purdue documents released and the Sackler family, its owners, pay billions over at most the next nine years.
The family will also be barred from opioid business. The firm itself will be excised and recreated as one that will make limited amounts of OxyContin and overdose reversal drugs like naloxone. A judge must first approve the settlement.
“The opioid epidemic didn’t miss a beat during the pandemic, and there’s no time to waste. Utilized properly, this money will save lives and prevent tragedies that have become all too common in communities across our state,” Bucco said. “The Governor understands the urgency, and I’m hopeful he will work with the Legislature to ensure the money is disbursed responsibly so it can have the most impact and help the most people.”