Guam secures $1.2M from opioid settlement deal
Updated: Sep 21, 2022
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Guam has received $1.2 million in funds from a multistate opioid litigation settlement agreement.
Attorney General Leevin Camacho said the funds will be available to support individuals struggling with addiction to opioids and methamphetamine, also known as “ice.”
The opioid settlement was the largest multistate agreement in Guam history- second only to the tobacco master settlement agreement, according to Camacho.
Camacho said the funds will be used for evidence-based treatment programs and evidence-based recovery programs to support those recovering from substance use disorders and struggling with mental health conditions, and for youth prevention programs. Funding will also support the needs of people transitioning out of the criminal justice system and working their way back into a productive and self-sufficient lifestyle, and help to address the needs of mothers, pregnant women, their families, and babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
Efforts to prevent the misuse, over-prescribing and dispensing of opioids and deaths from an overdose will also be supported.
“We can’t mass incarcerate our way out of our drug problem. To successfully address our drug problem, you must be tough and smart. This means prosecuting drug dealers and repeat offenders, expanding prison treatment programs, and supporting prevention and treatment for non-violent offenders,” said Camacho.
“These funds will expand on our ongoing efforts to achieve these goals as we work toward transforming our approach to fighting crime in our community,” he added. The Opioid Advisory Council, created through Public Law 36-64 and authored by Sen. Amanda Shelton, is tasked to identify the most effective ways to use the funds.
The next Council meeting is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 18.
In February, the settlement agreement was finalized with pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson and the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors Cardinal, McKesson, and Amerisource Bergen.
Under the settlement agreements, approximately $515,000 was received from Janssen and $456,000 was received from McKesson, totaling $971,000 which was deposited into the newly created Opioid Recovery Trust Fund. The first settlement of approximately $240,000 was reached last year with McKinsey & Company, one of the world's largest consulting firms that contributed to the opioid epidemic by promoting deceptive marketing schemes.
Guam is expected to receive additional funds this year and $4.4 million over the next four years. From 2026 through 2038, Guam is expected to receive between $524,000 to $1.1 million each year, bringing a total of $11.9 million to combat drug abuse and prevention.