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CHICOPEE — During the City Council meeting on April 2, Mayor John Vieau presented a motion to transfer $481,634 to the Law Special Revenue Account for Opioid Settlements.

Although the motion was to transfer funds into a specialized account, Vieau said that the goal is to use these funds for school adjustment counselors.

He added, “We’ve had many meetings and roundtables of trying to figure out what’s the best use of this money. We decided it’s to create awareness about drug use and how dangerous it is and also the end use which is helping those, for example, someone who has overdosed and has been narcaned, the outreach part of trying to get those people help.”

Chicopee, like other towns and cities in Massachusetts, has been receiving settlement funds as part of a national lawsuit.

The Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General and many other attorneys general have settled lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, distributors and retailers for their role in contributing to the epidemic caused by the opioid crisis in the state.

Gov. Maura Healey said the first two settlement payments would reach Massachusetts in spring and summer 2022, followed by yearly installments from 2023 to 2038.

Each municipality is set to receive different amounts of funding, according to projections by Healey’s office.

In 2022, Vieau expressed his gratitude for the $1.3 million Opioid Settlement Agreement the city received as a part of a national settlement. The funds will be allocated over the next 17 years.

Ward 9 City Councilor Mary Beth Pniak-Costello added that she is excited to see how some of the opioid settlement funds will be spent.

She said, “I just want to make note that this is going to be money that is going to be well spent in regard to the School Department. There’s a plan to hire school adjustment counselors in the schools to create awareness of drug abuse and the problems that drugs create. I appreciate the fact that the School Department is that involved in regard to addressing this crisis.”

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