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Opioid Settlement Updates

Ever since the landmark settlement of $26 Billion with Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health, states have been slowly getting funds distributed to help fight the opioid crisis. Read More

Ever since the landmark settlement of $26 Billion with Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health, states have been slowly getting funds distributed to help fight the opioid crisis. This article will act as a brief update for what states have been awarded funds. Many states are still waiting for funds, so there will be more updates as news is made available. All totals of funds received by states will be distributed in an 18 year period, according to the terms of the settlement. (All states listed except Oklahoma and Washington, who filed and won a separate settlement).

Colorado

Colorado was awarded $400 million in funds, which will begin to be distributed throughout the state in late summer.

According to the Denver Post, “Colorado saw 1,258 opioid deaths last year, compared to 956 in 2020, according to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Of those opioid deaths last year, 912 involved fentanyl — up from 540 in 2020.”

In an interview with the Denver Post, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said the state has seen “25 years of tragedy — with pills, heroin, fentanyl — that is killing more and more people…[w]e have now held accountable some of the worst offenders who have caused this crisis. This is the start of a new chapter to save lives and address this painful crisis.”

Indiana

The state of Indiana will receive $507 million from the settlement.  All cities, towns, and counties in the state will receive part of the settlement.

According to Indystar news, “Participating cities were originally barred from pursuing their own litigation for separate settlements with opioid companies. A new law signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb in March allows cities to receive the latest settlement funding while continuing to pursue litigation against other opioid companies.”

The Indystar news also reported that “Thirty percent of the settlement funds with ‘no strings attached’ will be split evenly between local communities and the state. That 30 percent can be used however local communities and the state choose to use them… 70 percent is designated for opioid abatement efforts in local communities with state leaders deciding exactly how to allocate half of those funds and local governments deciding on the other half.”

Oklahoma 

The state of Oklahoma will be receiving $250 million from a separate settlement reached on June 27th, 2022.  The Attorney General  John O’Connor said Oklahoma recovered more money from the distributors than the state would have received if it had joined the nationwide $26 billion settlement.

South Carolina

South Carolina was awarded $360 million from the settlement.

State medical experts and government leaders, including Gov. Henry McMaster and Attorney General Alan Wilson, released a guide Wednesday showing how local governments can spend the money. There are 9 approved uses, which include prevention programs and treatment for pregnant and postpartum women who use opioids.

Dr. Edward Simmer, the director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, told reporters that the guide has a “50/50” balance in ensuring funds are used for prevention and treatment.

Washington

Washington state was awarded $476 million from the settlement, as of earlier this month, government lawyers are still deciding how to divvy up  the funds.  Like Oklahoma, Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson turned down the national settlement, which would have awarded the state $430 million.

At a news conference in Seattle Ferguson defended his reason for rejecting the multi-state settlement, “We forced these companies to stand trial for their conduct… as a result, Washingtonians will receive $46 million in resources we would not have received had we accepted the national settlement before going to trial.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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