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Downtown Evansville, Indiana

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. — City leaders in Evansville have approved a plan to spend a portion of their share of a massive settlement from opioid drug makers.

You may recall back in 2021 Johnson and Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson were taken to court in a class action lawsuit for their roles in making the opioid epidemic worse. Between the four companies, they will be paying $26 billion to municipalities all over the U.S. including Evansville.

The city will be receiving payments from the settlement over the next 17 years with will total around $3.4 million.

On Monday, the Evansville city council was given a proposal backed by Mayor Lloyd Winnecke for what to do with a portion of that money. That proposal is for the organizations: Youth First, Inc. and Forefront Therapy to team up to provide help to the community to steer people away from opioid-based drugs.

“This is a problem that every community faces,” said Winnecke to reporters after the city council meeting. “This is our way of using at least part of these opioid settlement funds to help advance our community.”

Last year 77 people died in Evansville from drug overdoses.

“That’s 77 families who have been to hell and back I’m sure,” Winnecke added. “It’s nice to know that there is going to be a meaningful use of these funds out of tragedy.”

Forefront Therapy is an organization that helps people deal with pain through various treatments that do not involve opioid pain meds. Youth First is an organization of social workers who are placed within different school districts to keep an eye out for signs of opioid abuse.

With the $640,000 in funding approved unanimously by the Evansville city council Monday, both organizations plan to work together to keep up their efforts to fight opioid addiction.