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More than $222M received via opioid settlements in first three quarters

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(The Center Square) – County and municipal governments have received more than $175 million and North Carolina more than $43 million from opioid settlements in the first three quarters of the fiscal year.

Companies for which the state Department of Justice won settlements are supplying the funds. Actual figures are $176,787,053 for local governments, and $43,457,579 for the state. Including past fiscal years, more than $335 million has been won by North Carolina.

“Every cent of this money will go to helping local governments and the state combat the opioid crisis,” Attorney General Josh Stein said in a release.

He said the funds help people get treatment and allow government entities to “invest locally to get their people healthy.”

How each agency receiving funds uses the settlement is made public through the Community Opioid Resources Engine for North Carolina. It is known by the acronym CORE-NC. Included on the website are payment schedules, county-specific data and resources on strategies to help local spending.

CORE-NC is a clearinghouse center on settlement funds, bringing transparency to the process.

According to the state Department of Health and Human Services, more than 36,000 North Carolinians died by drug overdose between 2000 and 2022, the latest statistical timeframe available.

Opioids, DHHS says on its website, “are a class of drugs used to reduce pain. Opioids include some prescription pain medications, synthetic fentanyl and heroin. All opioids have a similar effect on the brain, they reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect the brain areas controlling emotion and breathing. Depending on how much you take and how you take them, if your body has more opioids than it can handle, there can be serious risks and side effects.”

Among the brand names and their opioid ingredient are MS Contin (morphine), Vicodin (hydrocodone), Norco (hydrocodone), Percocet (oxycodone), OxyContin (oxycodone), Opana (oxymorphone), Duragesic (fentanyl) and Subutex (buprenorphine). Other examples include codeine, methadone and heroin.

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