March 2022 – Berks County will receive more than $16.3 million over the next two decades from the settlement of a national lawsuit against certain pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors.
County commissioners have authorized the Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA) to manage and distribute the funds. COCA is the single county authority for drug and alcohol services in Berks County.
The money is part of a larger $26 billion nationwide settlement against the drug companies for their role in fueling the opioid crisis. Of that, Pennsylvania will receive just over $1 billion, and all 67 counties will receive funds. The amount allotted to each county is based on the severity of the crisis.
Berks’ $16.3 million will be received in payments over the next 18 years. COCA will allocate that money in accordance with an Opioid Settlement Plan it developed, outlining specific strategies for utilizing the settlement funds. Those strategies are aimed at providing services equitably throughout the county.
“This money will serve as a separate funding stream that will enable us to provide more services to address the opioid crisis in communities across Berks County. The types of services that will be funded are specified in the county’s Opioid Settlement Plan,” said COCA Executive Director Stanley Papademetriou.