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Palm Desert to decide to opt-into opioid settlement agreement, use funds on treatment for homeless

The City of Palm Desert will vote on Thursday on whether or not it will opt into a $1.2 billion settlement with Kroger. The agreement, which was pushed last year by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, is a multistate settlement in which Kroger could pay up to $1.2 billion. California has been given up to $122 million of that settlement, which cities like Palm Desert can decide to opt into. 

This is the latest settlement from large pharmaceutical companies and retailers. The settlements stem from misconduct when selling opioids, which have contributed to the opioid epidemic.

City staff write in their report that they should be "prioritizing street outreach and establishing pathways to treatment for homeless individuals grappling with substance use issues" if they decide to opt into the settlement.

Ivan Tenorio, the Homeless and Supportive Services Manager in Palm Desert, emphasizes that "a lot of folks struggle with substance abuse and their behavioral health. Those kind of coincide together. And so part of the outreach is to connect to those individuals and again, provide them services.”

Palm Desert contracts with CityNet, a nonprofit homeless outreach organization that partners with seven other Riverside County cities. The money from the settlement will help fund this partnership.

The item is listed on the consent calendar for Thursday's city council meeting. The deadline to opt in is August 12, 2024. 

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Gavin Nguyen

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