SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) –  Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Friday he’s creating an Office of Opioid Settlement Administration to allocate spending from a national opioid settlement.   

Four pharmaceutical companies – Cardinal, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson & Johnson – agreed to settle $26 billion for a national lawsuit against their businesses, alleging they are fueling the opioid epidemic. Illinois’ share of that money is approximately $760 million over 18 years.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said the money will mostly go towards abatement programs to stop the opioid progress. He said the goal of the new office is to determine the right balance of resources to go to different regions of the state. 

“Just as important as obtaining these resources to abate the crisis, it’s making sure the resources are again distributed equitably,” Raoul said. 

The state estimates there’s 74,000 people suffering from Opioid Use Disorder. IDPH found 2,944 Illinois residents died from an opioid overdose in 2020, a 33% increase from 2019.  

“Every city, town and village has someone right now hurting because of the opioid crisis,” Lt. Governor Julianna Stratton said. 

Politicians also highlighted the disparities racial minorities are affected by the opioid epidemic. Stratton pointed out the opioid death rate is highest for Black Illinoisains compared to other races. 

“It lays bare the deep inequities at the heart of this unspeakable amount of pain and trauma,” Stratton said.

If you or someone you know is struggling with opioids, you call the Illinois helpline for opioids and other substances at 833-234-6343 or text HELP to 833-234.