Over the next two months, every city and town in Massachusetts is eligible to sign on to an agreement that will fund work to address the opioid crisis.

In July, Attorney General Maura Healey announced a resolution with three opioid distributors — Cardinal, McKesson and Amerisource Bergen — and opioid-maker Johnson & Johnson that will provide up to $537 million in “abatement funds” to the Commonwealth and its cities and towns over 18 years to fund additional prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery efforts across Massachusetts.

All Massachusetts cities and towns are eligible to receive a portion of the settlement funds directly, regardless of their size or whether they filed a lawsuit, so long as they sign up and agree to use the payments to abate the opioid crisis in their communities. Healey and lawyers representing thousands of municipalities in the national opioid litigation strongly encourage municipalities to join.

Municipalities received a notice regarding the national opioids settlement in September. The notice, sent by National Opioids Settlement, states, “Please note that there is no need for subdivisions to be represented by an attorney or to have filed a lawsuit to participate in the Settlements.”

According to the Attorney General’s Office, municipalities that join will receive direct annual payments to expend on municipal abatement strategies developed with input from public health experts, municipal leaders, and families affected by the crisis.

Settlement funds that are not distributed directly to municipalities will go to the recently created statewide Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund to fund additional prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery programs throughout Massachusetts. Healey has already directed more than $11 million to the fund this year, which is already being put to work, with input from nonprofit leaders, physicians, professors, and public officials from 10 municipalities (Amherst, Boston, Brockton, Falmouth, Framingham, Lynn, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield, and Worcester).

The Attorney General’s Office website provides answers to frequently asked questions about the settlements, including how to sign up.

Municipalities should return their Subdivision Settlement Participation Forms by Jan. 2, 2022. Municipalities that anticipate joining but will not be able to submit a participation form by Jan. 2 should notify the Attorney General’s Office by email (MAOpioidSettlements@mass.gov) as soon as possible.

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