Attorney General ‘optimistic’ New Hanover Co. will benefit from $26B opioid agreement

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Attorney General Josh Stein paid a visit to the Port City on Tuesday, taking time to discuss some pressing issues.

The attorney general talked about the latest on a $26-billion national settlement with several opioid companies. Stein says North Carolina could get $750-million from the agreement and he’s hopeful New Hanover County will get a portion of these funds to help fight addiction and the opioid crisis.

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“We need people to have treatment facilities and there are great treatment providers here in Wilmington, they simply need more capacity,” Stein said. “There are so many proven programs that can save lives and these funds will support all of those initiatives.”

Julia Olson-Boseman, chair of the New Hanover County Commissioners, shared a statement on the funds reaching the Cape Fear.

“New Hanover County proactively join the opioid lawsuit back in 2017 because of the devastating impact of the opioid crisis on our community, fueled by these drug manufacturers and distributors. The $26 billion settlement announced last week has the potential to bring millions of dollars directly into New Hanover County over 18 years to help combat the opioid epidemic and provide the help our residents need. We, as a Board of Commissioners, adopted a resolution in June to be part of North Carolina’s Memorandum of Understanding, developed by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and the North Carolina Department of Justice. This MOA helps to maximize the amount of direct funding our community and other local governments across North Carolina receive from the settlement, instead of the state receiving the majority of the funds to then appropriate. I strongly urge other counties and municipalities throughout our state to sign onto this MOA as well – so that local communities who have borne the brunt of the epidemic can receive the majority of these funds to help our residents with the services and resources they need here at home.

New Hanover County has not had in-depth conversions at this point for how the funds would be utilized, but it will be a collaborative effort among the county, the city and the beach towns to ensure we are providing the right resources and support for our community.”

In January, the attorney general announced he did not object to the sale of New Hanover Regional Medical Center to Novant under certain conditions like continuing to provide a certain level of healthcare.

“We also wanted to make sure that the charity that was created was independent and had broad community representation so that those funds could go and serve everybody, benefit everybody in New Hanover County,” Stein said. “That all is going as planned, as expected and we’re hopeful that it will work out well.”

Stein says they are always reviewing hospitals for anti-trust violations and since the sale went through in February they have not heard many concerns.

The attorney general also touched on Gen-X. After coming to an agreement with Chemours and Dupont to stop dumping Gen-X, Stein has now filed a lawsuit against the companies to clean up the chemical that remains.

“I want to hold these polluters accountable. The ones who polluted should pay to clean up the mess, not you and me,” Stein said.

He says Chemours has filed a motion to dismiss and the state has responded to the motion. The court is considering the case and the state is hopeful they will move forward.