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North Carolina to receive nearly $19 million in opioid settlement

Updated: Feb. 4, 2021 at 10:45 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A large sum of much-needed money is coming to North Carolina to fight the opioid epidemic.

State Attorney General Josh Stein announced Thursday that he reached a $573 million multi-state settlement with consulting firms McKinsey & Company over its role in advising opioid companies on how to promote their drugs and profit from the opioid epidemic.

North Carolina will receive nearly $19 million, $15 million of that will be paid out in the next 60 days.

The Clinical Director at Coastal Horizons Center in Wilmington Kenny House knows where it should go to make a difference.

“It means there’s going to be more efforts geared towards preventing opioid abuse disorder and addiction,” said House. “There’s going to be more effort put forth treating and making sure people have access, and there are no barriers to that access for getting help when they need it -- whether it’s medication counseling or other type of support.”

House says that for every dollar spent on treatment, there is a savings to the system of $7 - $10. “We did a study, a case study, of a particular person that cost $20,000-$25,000 a year for a whole array of treatments,” said House. “And without those arrays of treatments, that individual cost our system close to $200,000 that year.”

“We are going to try to help people in need of treatment get that treatment,” added North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. “But there are programs offered in jails to do that, in courts to do that -- obviously in healthcare -- in the healthcare system, and through hospital systems.”

This is just the latest settlement in the epidemic fight. Purdue Pharma agreed in October 2020 to pay $8 billion; the following month, four drug companies settled for a total of $26 billion.

House says this action and much needed funds that provide treatment have been a long time coming.

“We knew about this trend,” said House. “It’s a very disturbing trend. Even the road of heroin addiction started with prescription opioids that were being over-prescribed and largely coming from the medical community, not coming from drug dealing or things like that. We knew that was happening back in 2007.”

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