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Bello proposes trust fund for opioid settlement money

Monroe County Seal / Logo

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello is proposing that the county establish a trust fund to guarantee that money from settlements with manufacturers of opioids be used to prevent addiction and combat the opioid crisis.

Bello said that the county will receive tens of millions of dollars over an 18-year period, noting that there have been settlements with pharmaceutical companies including Johnson & Johnson, McKesson and Perdue Pharma.

Bello said he wants to make sure whatever settlement money comes to the county is targeted toward a specific purpose.

“What this money will do is help fund the innovative and effective public health approaches our addiction requires,” said Bello. “This money, which comes from the companies who have hurt so many families, neighborhoods and communities all across our country, must be used to help people. We must guarantee that this money is not spent in any other way.”

Bello said he wants to avoid a situation where the incoming settlement money is used for purposes unrelated to addiction services, which he said happened several years ago after a national settlement with tobacco companies.

Bello says the county legislature will consider his proposal at its meeting on Tuesday evening.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.