Jan 30, 2024 - News

Boston to give some opioid settlement funds to grieving families this year

A pill bottle that talks about an opioid lawsuit settlement on the label

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Boston public health officials plan to give a portion of the city's opioid settlement money to families who have lost loved ones to overdoses as early as this summer.

Why it matters: Boston lost 352 people to opioid overdoses in 2022, the highest number in Massachusetts that year.

  • Overdoses disproportionately affect Back and Latino residents compared to their white counterparts.

What's happening: Boston plans to allot $250,000 annually to the Family Overdose Support Fund, following several community meetings.

  • The rest of the funds Boston gets annually will go toward housing for people struggling with substance use disorder, opioid prevention and grants for community groups on the ground, said Bisola Ojikutu, executive director of the city's public health commission.

By the numbers: Boston is set to receive $22 million from opioid companies through 2038.

  • Massachusetts cities and towns will collectively get more than $210 million over the next several years, while the state government will get $310 million.

Details: The commission is still in the early stages of setting up the fund.

  • Officials plan to contract an independent organization to manage the funds.
  • The commission is still figuring out the eligibility requirements and how much each family should receive, Ojikutu said.

What's next: The commission is hiring a director to oversee the opioid settlement funds.

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