Watch CBS News

Colorado communities prepare to spend big bucks from opioid lawsuit settlement

Colorado communities prepare to spend big bucks from opioid lawsuit settlement
Colorado communities prepare to spend big bucks from opioid lawsuit settlement 02:08

It's a fight Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has been waging for a few years now.   

"These were lawsuits against companies like Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family, others for basically telling people, 'don't worry about these opioids, you won't get addicted.' Those were lies. People got addicted. People's lives were ruined, people died," Weiser said Wednesday.

His office has outlined how the state will now spend the $400 million settlement, earmarked for opioid recovery. The money is split into three types of recipients: the state, regions, and local communities. 


"Only 10% of the money that we brought in we're keeping at the state level for issues of statewide concern. 90% of the funds goes to the local level, to these regions who will make independent decisions for their communities," Weiser said. "It's going to be different; what happens to Clear Creek County as opposed to what happens in the San Louis Valley or what happens in Montrose."

Clear Creek County is joined together with Gilpin and Jefferson Counties to form the G-Rock, or the Gateway to the Rockies region.


On the board tasked with figuring out how best to spend their cash sits George Marlin, a Clear Creek County Commissioner, and someone who has a clear understanding of how dangerous the opioid crisis is. 

"My father was introduced to heroin sometime in his twenties and was an on again, off again user throughout my life," Marlin told Mountain Newsroom Reporter Spencer Wilson. He described how that addition lead to a DUI, a divorce, and dangerous health conditions for his father.

Eventually, with help from his family, he was able to get clean and through his withdrawals.

 "We're really proud of him. He's completely sober today," Marlin said, smiling.

(credit: CBS)

He said the region is still working out how to best use their money once it comes down, and will have a plan in time for the September deadline. But he said this will only be the start of their battle, same as the rest of the company.

"This amount of money isn't going to be enough to solve all of our problems. But we can take some really important steps," Marlin said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.