CHICAGO — Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday signed an executive order aimed at battling the state’s opioid crisis.

The executive order establishes an advisory board on opioid settlement, which will work to make recommendations on how to spend opioid relief funds to the Illinois Opioid Steering Committee.

The relief funds will be coming to the state through a $26 billion national opioid settlement last month with the three largest pharmaceutical distributors in the United States.

Earlier this year, Gov. Pritzker and Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced the state would receive $760 million of the settlement over an 18-year period.

According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, opioid overdose is one of the leading causes of the 10-year life expectancy gap between Black and white Chicagoans, a gap which widened during the pandemic.

In 2020, more than 1,300 people died of an opioid overdose in Chicago, a 52% increase over 2019 and the highest number ever recorded in the City.

According to officials at the press conference Friday, the new office of opioid settlement hopes to have their first official meeting in September with allocated funds beginning to go out in October.