Kentucky to receive $483 million from final settlement with opioid distributors

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Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 1:11 PM EST
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PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced Friday that an historic $26 billion settlement with opioid distributors and a manufacturer is finalized.

The settlement will return $483 million to the Commonwealth for opioid abatement programs meant to address the epidemic.

Perry County Judge-Executive, Scott Alexander, has watched Eastern Kentucky families and whole communities suffer throughout the crisis.

”You’re glad that you’re going to get the settlement, but you’re sad that people had to endure this process,” he said.

The agreement settles claims with Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Johnson & Johnson.

Funds are expected to be released to a national distributor in April with money coming to Kentucky and other local governments over the summer.

“This historic $483 million settlement provides the Commonwealth with funds to meaningfully address the effects of the opioid epidemic,” said Attorney General Cameron. “We’ve fought to ensure that the opioid companies are held accountable for their roles in creating this crisis and that Kentucky receives the funding it is due for the harm these terrible drugs have inflicted upon our neighbors, friends, and loved ones. This funding cannot come quickly enough, and we will continue to work closely with the legislature and local governments to ensure the funds are put toward programs that will stop the cycle of addiction and help heal our communities.”

The agreement comes after years of negotiations resolving more than 4,000 claims of state and local governments across the country. It is the second largest multistate agreement in U.S. history, second only to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

”Some people can put this behind them and know that they were not the cause of this [crisis],” Judge-Executive Alexander said. “There was a bigger player and a bigger factor in this.”

Per House Bill 427, Kentucky’s share of the settlement will be divided with 50 percent of the proceeds going to the Commonwealth and the other half to local governments.

“The opioid epidemic has been personal to me because it has impacted the 25th district so drastically,” said Senate President Robert Stivers. “I and many others have and are working to turn the tide on this crisis, but to be successful, it will take each of us as partners. Today is one more step toward our goal to save lives and help people seek the redemption they need to lead a better life.”

The Commonwealth’s portion of the settlement will be overseen by the Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission. Eligible programs will be able to apply for funding.

“If allocated properly, the settlement funding will be instrumental in helping more Kentuckians reach long-term recovery and lead healthier, more productive lives,” said John Wilson, the Regional CEO for Addiction Recovery Care.

Judge-Executive Alexander added he is excited to see what this money can do while the community continues the work of fighting addiction.

”I would like to see us set up a trade program through our inmate populations,” he said as one example of many potential ideas to maximize the funds.

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