Cameron announces Kentucky’s potential share of massive opioid lawsuits settlement

The fight against the drug epidemic in Kentucky will soon get a major financial boost.
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 4:33 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The fight against the drug epidemic in Kentucky will soon get a major financial boost.

A settlement over thousands of lawsuits filed nationwide against major drug makers and distributors has been reached. The companies are expected to pay $26 billion and Kentucky will get a large chunk of the money.

“Let today’s announcement signal to each and every Kentuckian, we will always be in your corner, and we will use every available resource to support the important work being done to support individuals in recovery and further the work of opioid abatement programs,” Cameron Said.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron detailed the settlement in news conference this afternoon:

We’re told Kentucky could see the money start to flow in by April of next year. Cameron says the state could get more than $460 million.

Addiction Recovery Care’s Senior Vice President of Administration Matt Brown called the news a step in the right direction.

“We believe some of these resources will be able to be used in a way that will extend the care for people so that they can be in care longer, and not only be in care for their addiction, but also receive the other services that are needed for somebody to either move back into or move into a productive life for the first time,” Brown said.

He said ARC currently has more than 1,650 patients. Brown and other leaders said this money will provide more resources.

“There’s been people for years begging for treatment for ways to get help....the resources weren’t out there. That’s why today is so significant,” Pulaski County attorney Martin Hatfield said.

The deal isn’t finalized yet. Cameron’s office has 30 days to review the terms and conditions. Then, counties and cities will have a chance to look it over.

Cameron says all of the money will be sent in phases over the next several years. AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson will pay up to $21 billion over 18 years, while Johnson and Johnson will pay up to $5 billion over nine years.

Cameron says he’s optimistic this settlement will go forward and Kentucky will receive the maximum payment.

“The settlement has been long and hard-fought, but we have remained committed to ensuring that the companies are held accountable and let the Commonwealth receives its share,” Cameron said.

Cameron says the majority of this money would go to opioid treatment and prevention programs. He says the money would come in phases over the next 18 years. The state will follow House Bill 427 to determine how the money will be distributed.

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