Here’s the latest on the opioid settlement.
Last week, a $26 billion settlement agreement was reached with Attorneys General, the opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, and the 3 major distributors: McKesson, Cardinal Health, and Amerisource Bergen. Of that total, $21 billion from McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen will be distributed over 18 years, along with $5 billion from Johnson & Johnson over a 9-year period, with up to $3.7 billion paid during the first 3 years.
This sounds like a lot of money for states to spend addressing the opioid crisis—but what’s in the fine print?
While the “majority” of the settlement agreement funding must go toward forward-looking strategies focused on lessening the suffering of the opioid crisis, there are still several ways in which the dollars could be misspent or subverted. This is all the more reason for increased oversight of the spending at the state level, including establishing a dedicated fund, an advisory council of diverse stakeholders, and reporting mechanism.
This influx of dollars will not come again, and we owe it to the thousands of lives taken by addiction to spending these finds wisely and on evidence-based programs for addiction.
Courtney Gallo Hunter is Shatterproof’s Vice President of State Policy