60 Pa. counties sign on to $26 billion global opioid settlement

Opioid Crisis

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — In the last year alone, an average of 14 Pennsylvanians died a day from an overdose, according to Attorney General Josh Shapiro. So, how is the Commonwealth responding?

As of Wednesday, Jan. 5, 60 counties in the state have agreed to join an opioid settlement that would bring up to $232 million in 2022 to help families and individuals find treatment and help those suffering from substance abuse.

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“These funds will be earmarked to offer and expand life-saving treatment options, prioritizing the areas that have been most affected by this crisis,” said AG Shapiro.

Pennsylvania has been one of the lead states in negotiating the $26 billion global settlement with Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen—the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors—and Johnson & Johnson. The settlement requires significant industry changes that will help prevent a future opioid crisis in addition to the funds.

While the settlement stipulates that every dollar of funding must be used to combat the opioid crisis, it is up to local governments who have signed onto the settlement to decide where the funds will be allocated in the end.

According to the press release, the remaining 17 counties and multiple subdivisions have until next month to sign on.

“Continuing litigation is incredibly risky, as we’ve seen in Oklahoma where a $465 million judgment was overturned by the state Supreme Court after being on appeal for years, and in California where a number of counties and cities lost their case after seven years in court,” AG Shapiro added. “We can’t afford to wait – we need these funds flowing into our communities now.”

As of Jan. 5, all of the counties in the Midstate have signed on to the settlement.

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