Released: January 19, 2023
During Delaware County Council’s January 18 public meeting, an update was given on the planning process for the use of the funds the County will receive as part of the $26 billion multi-state opioid settlement with Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson.
In September 2022, Council Chair Dr. Monica Taylor and District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer announced that Delaware County will receive $63 million in 18 annual payments. The funding will be used to tackle the devastating opioid epidemic affecting Delaware County residents, their loved ones, and the community. Delaware County was the first county in the state to sue for damages against suppliers of opioids and their consulting physicians.
To ensure that the funds are used to combat the opioid crisis to the best of their ability, Delaware County formed an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary Task Force last fall to provide recommendations to County Council for short-term and immediate uses, as well as long-term programming that can be supported by the new funding.
Sandy Garrison, Chief of Human Services and Community Support and member of the Opioid Settlement Funds Task Force detailed the programs and treatments the funds may be used for, the process by which decisions will be made, and the efforts being made to engage the public in the management of the settlement funds through the new interdepartmental and interdisciplinary Task Force.
“It is critically important that Delaware County move quickly to put the new funding into use, because every day of delay is another day that someone struggles with addiction and its devastating impact on their lives, the lives of their loved ones, and the community,” said Sandy Garrison. “Delaware County has taken enormous strides to reform how it thinks about and addresses public health and safety in recent years, and these funds will continue the progress we are making to treat addiction as a public health epidemic and deliver necessary care and services to treat it.”
Core Strategies that will guide the allocation of funds:
Expand/Support Use of Naloxone & Medication Assisted Treatment
Treatment/Screening for Pregnant/Post-Partum Women and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Babies
Treatment for Incarcerated Population
Syringe Service Programs
Data Collection & Research
Funds will also be used for Wrap-Around Services, the support of Drug Courts and Diversion Programs, and support of First Responders.
“Delaware County will use these funds to make a significant impact on the addiction epidemic in our county,” said Delaware County Council Chair Dr. Monica Taylor. “We can help those suffering with addiction and educate the community about the danger of opioids with a focus on prevention and recovery.”
Sandy Garrison also highlighted the important role the Task Force will play in coordinating among County departments, District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, medical professional, and organizations and residents who have experience with addiction and/or provide services to people struggling with addiction.
“Addressing substance abuse in our communities requires a team effort, marrying prevention, education, and treatment efforts to help people who are suffering.” said District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer “I am proud to work with our community and governmental partners in this effort made possible by resources recovered in litigation initiated by me and County Council to hold opioid distributors accountable for the harm they caused in our county.”
To ensure the Task Force represents the community, the County is calling for members of the public to apply to be on the Task Force. Residents can email an expression of interest to DelcoBoards@co.delaware.pa.us
Council will appointment members to the Task Force during the Feb. 1 public meeting.
The first public meeting of the new Task Force will be held on Feb. 23 at 6:00 p.m.