by Terry Rogers
As part of a settlement agreement with pharmaceutical distributors of opioids, the State of Delaware agreed to participate in the settlement. City Manager Mark Whitfield explained that several months ago, Milford was contacted about participating in the settlement.
“At the time, I thought, well, sure, why not, there may be some money it for us,” Whitfield said. “I thought it might be a couple hundred thousand dollars, but the settlement is roughly $100 million for the State of Delaware. The city gets roughly 2.1 percent, or about $2.1 million. I asked the Chief if he could use that money and it took him about two seconds to respond. So, again, I have already stated that we are interested in participating. I would like to get council’s authorization for either the Mayor or I to execute all agreements and documents pertaining to the opioid settlement agreement.”
According to Whitfield, the settlement identifies ten political subdivisions in the state with Milford included. The settlement requires that the funds be used for services that remediate the harm caused by opioids as well as to reduce the harm caused by opioids. Funds may be used to purchase naloxone or other FDA-approved drug to reverse opioid overdoses, medication-assisted treatment distribution and other types of opioid treatment, services for pregnant and post-partum women, treatment for neonatal abstinence syndrome and expansion of “warm hand-off” programs and recovery services. Warm hand-off programs may include the hiring of social workers or other behavioral health workers.
Councilman Jason James asked if the funds could be used towards Milford Police Department’s newly formed Behavioral Health Unit. Whitfield answered that certain aspects of that unit would qualify for the funds.
“I’ve had a chance to look through the available uses and what not, what will be required, and I think a lot of these are great,” Councilman Todd Culotta said. “You know, drug treatment is an ongoing thing. It is not something we just throw money at. It is an activity, and it takes a community. Funding like this definitely helps. I got to see it for myself, and I am very happy about this.”
Council voted unanimously to allow the Mayor and City Manager to execute any agreements related to the settlement.
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