Salt Lake County to Receive $57 Million to Address Opioid Crisis
Recent Settlement with Major Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors Provides Unprecedented Opportunity to Invest in Prevention and Treatment
Salt Lake County – Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, District Attorney Sim Gill, and Sheriff Rosie Rivera today announced Salt Lake County will receive $57 million, in payments spread over 18 years, as a result of a landmark settlement between 46 states and thousands of local governments and several opioid manufacturers and distributors. Salt Lake County will get its first funds in May of this year. Settlement funds will be allocated to programs that will help address the ongoing opioid crisis through treatment, education, and prevention efforts.
“The opioid crisis continues to devastate our community and families, and this settlement is an unprecedented opportunity to invest in solutions,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. “Opioid companies profited off human suffering and pain. This settlement will never fully address that pain, but this funding will allow us to prevent more people from falling into the trap of opioid addiction and help more families who have already lost so much.”
“In 2018, we advised the county to sue big pharma because we were witnessing the devastating effects of corporate greed, the loss of lives and destruction of families throughout Salt Lake County. This settlement holds accountable big pharma, so the taxpayer is not left with the costs of corporate selfishness. This is the first step to repair the wake of destruction left behind,” said District Attorney Sim Gill.
“Every day, individuals experiencing an opioid addiction are brought to the jail, often on non-violent charges. The funding from this settlement will allow our community to help these individuals before they are arrested while also expanding in-custody treatment services. Keeping people out of the criminal justice system will lead to better long-term outcomes and treating individuals in custody will reduce the likelihood of that individual reoffending,” said Sheriff Rosie Rivera.
Mayor Wilson has been a long-time champion of seeking solutions for the opioid crisis. Years ago, while serving on the Salt Lake County Council, she convened an opioid crisis strategic retreat with the Salt Lake County Council and community leaders. This led to the establishment of the county’s opioid task force which she chaired with Council Member Steve Debry until she left the Council when elected Mayor.