NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — “Every couple of minutes someone is dying in the United States of an overdose, and in Tennessee we’re not immune to that,” said Dr. Michael Ferri.

Ferri is used to seeing addiction up close.

“Addiction is an underserved area so my heart has kind of gone out to people with addiction, and over time that’s just what I gravitated towards,” he said.

Ferri has spent years working as an addiction physiatrist, but he also serves as the medical director for an addiction treatment center for women called The Next Door in Nashville.

“You can offer addiction treatment care to anybody,” he said. “It’s the kind of care that you offer that predicts the outcome.”

In December 2022, Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti announced nearly $265 million would be coming to Tennessee through an opioid crisis settlement with CVS and Walgreens.

“I would like to see funds go towards supporting efforts like The Next Door,” said Ferri.

The first round of payments was distributed out to counties across Tennessee in late February.

Applications for these funds will open soon, and Ferri said The Next Door plans to apply.

“We have lots of ideas about how we can expand our reach, how we can reach more patients in the community, [and] how we can expand our medication-assisted treatment,” he said.

The Tennessee Opioid Abatement Council will oversee these funds, making sure they are distributed properly to address opioid abuse, misuse, prevention and awareness.

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“It’s going to leave its mark on Tennessee,” said Ferri.

While Ferri is skeptical if this settlement will change the course of pharmaceutical companies, he is grateful there’s money on the table to help those impacted in our state.

“I really hope that we can be good stewards of this money and deliver it to places and providers that will make a great impact,” he said.

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News 2 spoke to Mary Shelton who is the executive director of the Opioid Abatement Council who said the council approved the application portal platform Monday April 3rd.

Shelton says they expect the statewide application portal to go live in the fall.