SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Combating the opioid epidemic continues as Pennsylvania will soon receive part of its $1BIL from a settlement with top drugmakers.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro released more information Wednesday night. It’s a matter of time before the commonwealth can start pumping millions of dollars into this crisis in hopes to curb it.

The opioid epidemic has claimed thousands of lives in Pennsylvania. Attorney General (AG) Shapiro says three top pharmaceutical distributors had a role in creating and fueling the nationwide opioid crisis and they’re paying for it.

“The office of the Attorney General is using every tool available to help provide communities across Pennsylvania with relief from the opioid crisis. Which sadly kills 14 Pennsylvanians each and every day,” said State Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

The lawsuit came to an end last year, settling at $26BIL to be divided among the 50 states. Pennsylvania will start to receive part of its $1.07BIL this month.

“Counties have a wide ray of options in terms of how to spend this money. As long as it goes toward elevating the opioid crisis,” said AG Shapiro.

“We’re excited to get those dollars into the harm reduction programs that we have already implemented and have been ongoing for several years,” stated Frank Ruggiero, Lackawanna County Solicitor.

The Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office, the county office of Drug and Alcohol Programs and the Lackawanna County Recovery Coalition are working to combat the epidemic.

The $9.751MIL will be used in the county. It will go to the frontline, Naloxone or Narcan kits, and recovery. A review team will continue to monitor data.

“Which allows us to specifically apply those dollars in a data drive manor rather than just tossing dollars at the program or at the problem,” said Frank Ruggiero.

The epidemic contributed to 69 fatal opioid overdoses in the county in 2020. And 80 percent of all heroin addictions in the U.S. start with prescription opioids, according to the coalition.

“It’s going to take significant dollars, it’s going to take significant effort. So this is just the start, it’s a good start but by no means is it the endpoint,” said Ruggiero.

In the first release of the settlement, the state will receive about $230MIL. Lackawanna County could see its share of about 2.3 million this month or shortly after.