Millions of dollars coming to Mesa County as part of big pharma lawsuit
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The State of Colorado is getting $400 million as part of a massive settlement with some of the nation’s biggest pharmaceutical companies and a large portion of that is coming to Mesa County.
The larger settlement gives $26 billion to states nationwide. Over the next 18 years Mesa County is expected to get between $350,00 and $450,000 per year, according to County Commissioner Janet Rowland.
“Opioids have certainly been a problem across Colorado probably more on the front range than here in Mesa County,” said Rowland. “But we’ve certainly had our issues to deal with and fortunately, the funds for this, as long as opioid treatment or prevention is covered, can also serve people with other addictions to different drugs. So that’ll be really helpful for us in Mesa County.”
Rowland said treatment and recovery services are very important and there simply aren’t enough of them. Which is something she and other community leaders hope to change. Rowland said the funds coming from settlement will help strengthen treatment and recovery efforts.
“Oftentimes, people use a substance to address or deal with a mental health issue that hasn’t been addressed,” said Rowland. “They’re not able to get services, so we often see a lot of people with a mental health illness and some addiction to one substance or the other. It could be opioids, it could be something else.”
The Mesa County Regional Opioid Governance Board has been working to identify what needs we have in a Mesa County, according to Rowland. Rowland said five priorities were identified for which the funds can be used for. Three of which she said are important to the county are treatment, recovery and prevention or education.
Now The Mesa County Regional Opioid Governance Board is accepting applications and proposals from the community. Rowland said the idea is to have the community make proposals when it comes to treatment options. She said there won’t be a city or county project but rather one based from people or organizations within the community who have ideas or resources to help treat people struggling with addiction.
“This is open to anyone in the community who wants to provide treatment, recovery or prevention services,” said Rowland.
United Way of Mesa County will be acting as the administrator for the funds.
Any person or organization who is interested in applying for a grant should visit: https://uwmesacountygrants.grantplatform.com/
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