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Lexington anticipating almost $16 million in opioid national lawsuit settlement

Lexington Commissioner of Law Susan Speckert
Lex TV-screenshot
Lexington Commissioner of Law Susan Speckert

Lexington is expected to receive almost $16 million as a result of the national opioid settlement. That’s the word from Lexington Law Commissioner Susan Speckert. She offered an update to the Council’s General Government Committee last week. She said initial funds could be distributed as early as this spring.

“And you will see the uses are extremely broad. And the reason for that is it was important to give local communities some flexibility to tailor their mitigation and abatement efforts to their specific needs,” said Speckert.

Speckert said funds from the settlement will be received over 18 years. She told the panel other monies could still be coming from other drug company defendants. Speckert noted the court decision meant $483 million will be coming to Kentucky.

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a substantial loss of life, including those who died of drug overdoses. Lexington’s City Council committee got an update on substance use issues last week.

Drug overdose deaths had been falling until 2020 when they rose by 81. Lexington Substance Use Intervention Program Coordinator Amy Baker said deaths fell by 16 in 2021. Part of the report focused on recovery houses. Baker said they typically fit well within a neighborhood.

“Most people who have one in their neighborhood, they don’t even know it’s there. Folks get up and go to work and they rebuild their lives and they don’t cause trouble. They’re in a safe house in a safe environment with transportation and a job. And they’re not looking to rock the boat,” said Baker.

Overdose Prevention Coordinator Scott Luallen said there are at least 75 such sober homes in Lexington. Baker, meanwhile, told council members housing is harm reduction.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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