Drug prevention and recovery professionals react to historic opioid case settlement

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 6:00 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - On Wednesday, State Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced a settlement between plaintiffs and drug distributors believed to be responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic.

The historic $26 billion agreement with distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen, and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, could send over $460 million to Kentucky. The money would be apportioned according to terms established by House Bill 427, which passed the General Assembly earlier this year.

Nancy Hale, the President & CEO of the drug prevention program, Operation Unite, found the news of a settlement bittersweet.

“You’re elated in one sense of the word, but your heart is still heavy that it had reached that point that so many lives had been lost,” Hale said.

Matt Brown, the Senior Vice President at Addiction Recovery Care, said that it was appropriate the companies who were, in part, responsible for the crisis would contribute to rebuilding communities and strengthening existing treatment options.

“This money is going to allow more people to access care, and to stay longer, so that they have the opportunity to live a life that is flourishing, a life that is full of hope,” Brown said.

The drug prevention and recovery experts are optimistic that the addiction crisis will improve, but recognize that a settlement cannot fix everything.

“That funding is not going to bring back a single one of those lives,” Hale said.

The plaintiffs on the lawsuit have 30 days to review the settlement. If enough parties approve it, the cash distribution may begin.

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