MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A $26 billion settlement involving major drugmakers has the city of Myrtle Beach ready to take more steps in the fight against opioid abuse.

The national settlement claims drug distributors Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen fueled a nationwide opioid epidemic. As a result, thousands of communities nationwide could receive money from the settlement.

City council unanimously passed a resolution to participate in the settlement, which would allow the city to get up to $4.3 million over the next 17 years.

The latest data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmetal Control shows Horry County has the highest number of suspected opioid overdoses in the state.

Over the last two years, Myrtle Beach has been addressing the crisis through an opioid-outreach initiative. Mayor Brenda Bethune said the money from the settlement will help further those efforts and more.

“These funds will allow us to continue the work that’s been started towards those efforts,” Bethune said.

“We do have an opioid epidemic that’s nationwide but this is going to greatly help us address the issues that we have right here,” she said. Police Chief Amy Prock said it takes a village to combat the opioid epidemic.

“This is a public health issue so this is something that the police department along with all the service providers throughout Horry and Georgetown county are working together on,” Prock said.

She said the city’s outreach initiative consists of the police department, city council members, public health services, and private organizations. Prock said the money would provide more resources and strengthen efforts across Horry and Georgetown counties.

“Funding is important not only for our agency and for the city, but for all the agencies throughout our communities,” she said.

News13 is working to learn when the city will get the money and exactly how it will be used among the agencies.

Count on us for updates.