Five of the many companies accused in thousands of federal and state lawsuits over the nation's opioid epidemic may settle for over $50 billion, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

An organization aimed at fighting substance abuse has seen an increase in overdoses lately.

“We have recently seen an influx in overdoses, especially since the holiday season,” said Erin McClelland, director of clinical services at New Paths.

McClelland and her agency are on the front lines of the opioid epidemic in Genesee County.

“I would say about 20 some calls over the holidays,” McClelland said.

That is why it’s so important to work to end the epidemic.

Recently, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced it is putting $17.5 million statewide toward combating the problem.

McClelland said that matters because money makes a difference.

“We actually saw a decrease in the amount of opioid use. And we do believe it’s because of the access to services,” McClelland said.

With the multi-million dollar grant, MDHHS will invest in programs to help expand community-based treatment opportunities, such as adding mobile care units and supporting start-up costs for new treatment services.

A portion of the money will be going to naloxone distribution in high-risk areas, like Genesee County.

It will also go to treating opioid use disorder in jail and emergency rooms.

McClelland said an increase in funding always helps.

“In regards to working with individuals to get them well, and when you’re talking about prevention and treatment and recovery, the more dollars the better,” McClelland said.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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