AG secures more than $14 million in opioid lawsuit settlement

AG Leevin Camacho talks about the opiate settlement during Monday's news conference. (PNC photo)

The Guam Office of the Attorney General has secured millions of dollars for Guam from the opioid class lawsuit settlement.

“We’ve secured upwards of $14 million now. And the next phase is to make sure that it gets to where it is needed and where it will be effective,” AG Leevin Camacho said in a news conference Monday afternoon.

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Also attending the conference were officials and representatives of the organizations that will benefit from the proceeds of the opiate lawsuit settlement.

Among them were Christopher Francisco, Clinical Supervisor at the Salvation Army Lighthouse Recovery Center; Ramona McManus, Executive Director of Elim Pacific Ministries/Oasis Empowerment Center; and Athena Dueans, Manager of the Drug/Alcohol Branch of New Beginnings at Guam Behavioral Health & Wellness Center.

Camacho said they will be formalizing memorandums of understanding to transfer proceeds of the opioid settlement to these organizations to fund various drug rehabilitation and mental health projects.

“This is all part of our office’s broader and holistic approach to building safer communities and none of this would be possible or would mean anything without community collaboration,” AG Camacho said.

Senator Amanda Shelton was also on hand to announce that she had filed legislation, Bill 204, co-sponsored by eight other senators, that will establish an Opioid Recovery Trust Fund.

The bill ensures that all of the money collected from the opioid litigation will go into this trust fund and will be used specifically for substance abuse treatment or prevention.

“The legislation also establishes the Opioid Recovery Advisory Council, so this will be a group of people, experts, and government partners who will be able to guide us with a strategy on how to best use this money for our community. Knowing the needs of our community, and its changing needs, we’ll be able to identify those needs to use the money, the best way we know how,” Shelton said.

She added: “And then, lastly, the bill designates the Office of the Attorney General, as our single agency to bring claims against any establishments, with regards to opioid to help one get 100% of the settlements that are available to us. So we’re very happy to be here to be partners with all of you to ensure that we are going to help our community in the best way possible to create safer communities, and to treat drug addiction as well as prevent any further harm from opioid abuse here on our island.”