At its Dec. 20 meeting, the City Council approved a resolution to opt in to a national settlement that would resolve all opioid litigation brought by states and local political subdivisions against three of the largest pharmaceutical distributors and one manufacturer. Narcan is a brand-name device that delivers naloxone, an opioid-overdose antidote, that first responders commonly carry.

At its Dec. 20 meeting, the City Council approved a resolution to opt in to a national settlement that would resolve all opioid litigation brought by states and local political subdivisions against three of the largest pharmaceutical distributors and one manufacturer. Narcan is a brand-name device that delivers naloxone, an opioid-overdose antidote, that first responders commonly carry.

Photo by Brian Wells


Novi City Council votes to opt in to national opioid settlement

By: Brian Wells | Novi Note | Published January 13, 2022

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NOVI — The Novi City Council, at its Dec. 20 meeting, approved a resolution to opt in to a national settlement that would resolve all opioid litigation brought by states and local political subdivisions against three of the largest pharmaceutical distributors and one manufacturer.

After years of negotiations, two proposed nationwide settlement agreements were reached against McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, and distributor Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson.

The settlement requires the three distributors to pay up to $21 billion over 18 years, and Janssen to pay up to $5 billion over no more than nine years. Of the $26 billion total, approximately $22.7 billion has been earmarked for use by participating states and municipalities to remediate and abate the impacts of the opioid crisis.

The funds are first divided among participating states according to a formula developed by the attorney general that considers population and the severity of harm caused by the opioid epidemic. From there, each state’s share of the funds is then further allocated within each state according to an agreement between the state and its political subdivisions.

In August 2021, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel signed on to the settlement, according to a press release from the Michigan Department of Attorney General. Depending on the allocation metrics and participation of local units of government, the state could receive nearly $800 million through the settlement.

“Holding these companies accountable for their role in fueling the opioid epidemic has remained one of my biggest commitments as Attorney General,” Nessel said in the press release. “Our official sign-on is an important step in the progression of this historic settlement. This funding would support ongoing prevention and treatment efforts across the state, and I have long argued that much-needed financial support should be coming from those who created this crisis — not the communities suffering through it.”

By participating in the settlements, the city of Novi is eligible to receive approximately 0.1466% of the 15% allocation the state of Michigan will receive.

Funds from the settlements must be spent on opioid remediation, such as expanding training and availability of naloxone or other FDA-approved drugs used to reverse opioid overdoses, providing treatment options for the incarcerated population, and expanding syringe service and prevention programs.

Novi Assistant Police Chief Erick Zinser said he isn’t sure yet how the funds will be spent. Since 2015, the department has been working to train its officers in crisis intervention so they can recognize the signs of addiction.

Officers have also been trained on how to use naloxone, and each carries two doses of it.

While there have been 20 overdose deaths in Novi since 2015, the department has saved 115 people from an overdose. In the years since then, the department has seen a decrease in the number of times per year that naloxone is needed, Zinser said.

“Overall, that seems like a big number, but I think we’re fortunate that it’s not a much larger number,” Zinser said.

Since 2018, the department has also worked with Hope Not Handcuffs, an initiative started by Families Against Narcotics that brings law enforcement and community organizations together to help people suffering from drug addictions find treatment. The department also has partnered with the Novi Community Coalition to help raise awareness of addiction.

Zinser said that after a person overdoses, the department will work with the person to try to get information about where the drugs came from. The department also will share resources and information to help with addiction.

“We’re not going to arrest our way out of this,” Zinser said. “This has got to be a community effort. We have to look for alternative solutions.”

Contact Brian Wells at (586) 498-1081, (248) 291-7637 or bwells@candgnews.com.

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