Colorado On Track To Receive $ 385 Million From Opioid Epidemic Settlements | Messages

Colorado is well on its way to receiving roughly $ 385 million from legal settlements reached with Johnson & Johnson and three of the country’s largest drug distributors for their role in fueling the opioid epidemic, the Attorney General of said Colorado on Tuesday with.

The total represents Colorado’s share of the $ 26 billion payout in a class action lawsuit that is expected to close later this year. Every Colorado county and almost every parish has approved the settlements and a fund distribution plan, Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a press release.

“By bringing together this amazing support from the local government well in advance of the January 26 filing deadline, Colorado is demonstrating its collaborative solution culture and commitment to fighting the opioid epidemic,” Weiser said in a statement. As a result, we as a state will be ready to to implement our opioid response plan once the settlement funds arrive in our state. “

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2000 to 2020, more than 7,600 Coloradans died of opioid overdoses, and countless others suffered from addictions. Preliminary data released last month showed the state’s 2021 death toll from overdoses is well on the way to dwarfing the previous year’s total.

Under the distribution agreement, most of the funds from the settlements are dedicated to drug treatment, recovery, prevention, education and harm reduction programs. The money should arrive later that year, with the bulk of Johnson & Johnson’s dollars being paid out in the first three years of a nine-year schedule. The funds of the drug dealers are paid out over 18 years, said Weiser’s office.

The state has already received approximately $ 8.2 million from a nearly $ 10 million settlement reached with consultancy McKinsey & Co. for its role as “turbo-charging” the opioid epidemic by helping drug makers helped market the drugs and benefit from the epidemic, Weiser’s office told Colorado Politics. Weiser filed a lawsuit in multiple states that resulted in a $ 573 million settlement with McKinsey a year ago.

In a statement last July announcing the conclusion of a statewide settlement agreement to settle opioid-related claims, Johnson & Johnson said this was “not an admission of liability or wrongdoing and the company will continue to defend itself against any litigation that the final agreement does not dissolve. “

Johnson & Johnson said it is no longer selling prescription opioid drugs in the US as part of its “continued effort to focus on transformative innovation and meet unmet patient needs.” The company added that its drugs accounted for less than 1% of total opioid prescriptions in the United States

Weiser on Monday praised local government officials, including Colorado Counties Inc. and the Colorado Municipal League, for their work in developing the common framework, which required “significant involvement” from local institutions so that all parties received maximum payments. The framework released by the Attorney General last summer also regulates the distribution of funds from future settlements related to the opioid crisis.

“This type of collaboration and partnership is the way government should function and has been modeled well by the attorney general,” said John Swartout, executive director of Colorado Counties Inc., in a statement.

The executive director of the Colorado Municipal League, Kevin Bommer, thanked Weiser for brokering the agreement and called it “state-local partnership at its finest”.

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