Using opioid settlement money to support communities disproportionately impacted by addiction

Massachusetts will receive about $90 million for the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorders as a result of a federal settlement with the Sackler family—owners of Purdue Pharma, the now-bankrupt manufacturer of the OxyContin painkiller. One of the members of an advisory council set up by the state to help determine how the money should be spent is Elsie Tavares, professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and chief of the Division of General Academic Pediatrics at MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

Tavares said in a September 3, 2021, WGBH article that priority for funding should go to “communities that have been most harmed by the, quote unquote, war on drugs,” especially “Black, Latinx, low-income neighborhoods.” Areas of greatest need include programs that distribute the emergency overdose treatment naloxone and sterile syringes, and that assist with work and housing, she…
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