Mayor Hancock Applauds Agreement on Opioid Abatement

Published on August 26, 2021

Colorado Attorney General and Local Governments Reach Statewide Agreement to Fight Opioid Epidemic

Mayor Michael B. Hancock today joined Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and other state and local leaders to announce a framework agreement to address opioid abatement on a local level and distribute statewide the over $400 million Colorado stands to receive from opioid crisis litigation settlements.

“This work represents a united effort between local governments and the state to address the loss, suffering and multi-generational impacts of the opioid crisis on our communities," Mayor Hancock said. "The epidemic of opioid addiction and its consequences touch every community, every demographic and every single one of us in some way.”

The opioid epidemic has taken a devastating human toll on our communities and continues to cost local governments in numerous ways, not only through the need for increased emergency medical and long-term addiction services, but also through additional resources spent on social programs as well as increased drug-related offenses impacting law enforcement, corrections and the courts.

“There is hardly a family anywhere in the city that is immune to the real human impact of the opioid epidemic,” the Mayor said. “This agreement does not resolve the crisis, but it is a major step forward in providing meaningful relief in communities across Denver.”

"Coloradans are known for coming together to problem solve, and combatting the opioid crisis requires a coordinated regional response," City Attorney Kristin Bronson said. "This historic agreement will ensure Opioid Settlement Funds are distributed directly to communities across the region and state, initiating abatement and addressing the critical impacts caused by these prescription opioids manufacturers."

The opioid epidemic is no accident and could not have become the crisis it is today without the deceptive practices of drug manufacturers and distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson & Johnson. Through a sophisticated and well-orchestrated campaign, these companies pioneered the integration of advertising and medicine by touting the purported benefits of opioids to treat pain and downplayed the risks of addiction, all while collecting huge profits.

As a result, opioid-related fatalities in Denver have increased from 117 in 2018 to 257 in 2020, a 120% increase.

The opioid framework announced today by the Attorney General represents a victory for regionalism, establishing a framework for allocating over $350 million in opioid settlement funds statewide.

Overall, 90% of the Opioid Settlement Funds will be directed to local governments, with 20% a direct allocation by formula to participating local governments, 60% allocations to regions, and 10% for local and regional infrastructure projects to address abatement. This groundbreaking settlement will ensure no missed opportunities in remediating the harm caused by these prescription opioids manufacturers, prevent it from continuing, and hold them accountable for the tremendous toll caused in communities across the state. 

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