Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck said Tuesday that proceeds from the opioid painkiller litigation settlement will be available from September.
The county’s $2,180,422 share of the settlement with 20 drug companies, including Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson, will be used to support the county’s Drug & Alcohol Division programs, Houck’s office said in a statement. hurry.
Houck joined the Pennsylvania lawsuit in 2017 along with several other county prosecutors in an effort to combat opioid addiction fueled by defendants’ campaign to get medical providers to treat chronic pain with opioids, the statement said.
“These companies have engaged in behaviors that have threatened the health of a significant number of people in our community – people of all ages, races and economic status. While this settlement is great progress, we are not done yet,” Houck said in Tuesday’s statement. “Our priority is to save lives, and we continue to attack the current opioid crisis on two fronts: by using our full-time drug task force to eliminate illegal drug trafficking from our neighborhoods and by confronting the pharmaceutical companies engaged in the deceptive acts of supplying and distributing this addictive poison.Today is an important step in achieving these goals.
Following a nationwide settlement reached in March, Purdue Pharma said, “We are pleased with the mediated settlement, under which all additional settlement funds will be used for opioid reduction programs, rescue medication in the event of an overdose and the victims. With this mediation outcome, we continue on track to continue the appeals process on an expedited schedule, and we hope to provide these resources quickly. »
Johnson & Johnson was a party to a settlement reached a week earlier, releasing a joint statement with other defendants calling the settlement’s implementation “a key step toward broadly resolving government opioid claims and providing a significant relief to communities across the United States.”
County Executive Lamont McClure thanked Houck for his efforts and support of the county’s efforts to fight addiction, saying, “Thousands of Northampton County residents have become addicted because of sales campaigns that encourage medical providers to treat their patients with opioids. It is important that we offer as many recovery pathways as possible. »
The county describes its drug and alcohol recovery programs as follows:
HERO: The Opioid Housing Emergency Response (HERO) is designed for people with opioid dependence who are homeless or at risk of eviction. People can be referred through transitional housing sites, a recovery court, one of the county’s five recovery centers or can call 610-829-4357 (HELP). Rent and utility payment assistance can be covered for up to six months.
PAIR: PAIR (Police Assisting in Recovery) allows case managers to work with people referred by the police. Police are handing out cards with instructions on how to seek help for people who appear to be struggling with an addiction or take them to one of the county’s recovery centers. They also work with community organizations. This program is designed for interactions where the police encounter someone who needs help. It cannot be used for incidents involving criminal activity. Thirty-five police services participate in the program.
ASCEND: The RISE program is designed for those currently incarcerated, helping them connect with a Certified Recovery Specialist or Certified Family Recovery Specialist. The program offers interim recovery services over the phone or in person.
TO CATCH: CATCH services are available at local Northampton County hospitals. When a person presents with a need for substance abuse and/or alcohol services, medical staff can offer a warm transfer to a member of the CATCH team. The aim is to encourage the individual to access treatment services as well as to listen and provide advice.
Additionally, recovery centers operating in the county include:
- A Clean Slate, 118 S. First St., Bangor, 610-452-9348: cleanslatebangor.com
- Change on Main, 1830 Main St., Northampton, 484-353-6617: change-on-main.org
- Hope Center, 429 E. Broad St., Bethlehem, 484-788-3665: treatmenttrends.org
- Oasis, 3410 Bath Pike, Hanover Township, 484-747-6825: oasisbethlehem.org
- Palmer Recovery Center, 2906 William Penn Highway, Palmer Township, 610-438-0853: palmerrecoverycenter.org
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Kurt Bresswein can be reached at [email protected].