HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Hundreds of millions of dollars are coming to Connecticut to fight the opioid crisis.
The money is coming straight from the pockets of the pharmaceutical distribution companies.
The state is getting $300 million to fight the opioid crisis, according to state health officials.
Drug overdose deaths are up in the last two years, with the majority being traced back to opioids, according to the Department of Public Health.
"It is my daughter who was involved in a bicycle accident at the age of 14. She was given copious amounts of drugs," said Paige Niver.
Niver said she is so grateful her daughter is not another statistic.
Her daughter beat the addiction at 20 years old.
"Addiction is treatable and preventable," Niver noted.
Connecticut has already lost thousands to opioid overdoses. Wednesday, news came that three companies would shell out a combined $21 billion.
Johnson & Johnson will pay up to $5 billion.
More than 40 states are getting a payment and Connecticut will get $300 million.
"This is the second largest cash settlement of any litigation in history, exceeded only by the tobacco settlement more than 20 years ago," said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong.
Tong said the money will be spent on treatment and prevention.
"We’re an education community. We’re a community that works to make sure people have access to treatment," said Rep. Susan Johnson.
Johnson said the town of Willimantic has made progress in the opioid fight, because they’re focusing on education and treatment.
Both can be found at facilities like 'Generations' right off of Main Street in Willimantic.
She’d like to see the money build more facilities like it across the state, with more staffing too.
"One of the things I found out was that we have a very, very small number of psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, and people who can provide the services that will help people make it through these difficult times if they find themselves in a situation where they’re addicted," Johnson continued.
Longtime Willimantic residents said they have noticed the positive transformation over the last several years and hope to see the state follow the blueprint.
"Believe it or not, it is getting better. A lot of these programs, like CHR and Generations that have programs, they help people. They’re here to help us," said Willimantic resident Leon Brown.
Wednesday’s settlement isn’t just about money, health officials said.
The drug industry will change to prevent this type of crisis from happening again.
That includes establishing a tracking system to detect, block, and report suspicious opioid orders and share that data with states.