By Ben Botkin
Oregon will receive an estimated $701.5 million to fight opioid addiction from settlements with companies that distributed, produced or sold the addictive painkillers, the Oregon Department of Justice said last week.
The department signed off on the eight settlements this year. The state plans to put the money into addiction and prevention programs to fight the opioid epidemic that kills hundreds of Oregonians each year. In 2021, 745 Oregonians died from opioid overdoses, up from 472 deaths in 2020, according to state data.
Separately, the state reached a $698 million settlement with Monsanto Company to end litigation tied to its alleged role in polluting the state for decades with toxic chemicals that still remain in landfills and riverbeds decades later. The state will put that money toward environmental cleanup work.
Combined, the settlements represent $1.4 billion the state has recovered in public health lawsuits in 2022.
“This money has already started to flow into Oregon, and will be used for treatment, education and prevention efforts,” Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a statement. “It is my hope that communities throughout the state will soon begin to feel the effects of this influx of funds.”
Here’s a look at where the money will come from and what’s next:
Oregon has received $27 million this year, which will go toward cities, counties and state programs for treatment, recovery and prevention programs. The state expects to receive another $45.7 million by the end of February. In all the lawsuits, Oregon and other states joined forces to sue and will share in national settlements.
The settlements include:
- Oregon will receive $270 million in a settlement with Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen, the three largest opioid distributors. That’s part of a $21 billion national settlement.
- Oregon will get $99.4 million from opioid manufacturers Allergan and Teva Pharmaceuticals, its share of a national $6.6 billion settlement. The state sued the companies alleging they illegally marketed their opioids.
- Oregon will get up to $97 million out of a $6 billion national settlement with Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family.
- Oregon will get $62 million in a 10-year period from opioid manufacturer Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The first installment of $13.7 million arrives in January.
- Three pharmacy chains also settled for their role in dispensing opioids and allegedly ignoring red flags in patients. Oregon will receive $71 million from Walgreens; $65 million from CVS; and $37.1 million from Walmart. Other states and local government agencies still have to agree to the settlements before they are effective.
The state expects to receive the full $698 million settlement from Monsanto in January. The Department of Justice will work with lawmakers and agencies to put the settlement to use cleaning up areas affected by toxic chemicals, including sediment and riverbeds throughout Oregon.
This story first appeared in the Oregon Capital Chronicle.