Nessel, Genesee Co. officials promote historic opioid settlements

FILE PHOTO - Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three major distributors have finalized the...
FILE PHOTO - Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three major distributors have finalized the largest settlement to date among the many opioid-related cases that have been playing out across the country(Find Rehab Centers / CC BY 2.0)
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 11:29 AM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - Attorney General Dana Nessel and Genesee County leaders are highlighting the next steps in the $26 billion opioid settlements with the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors, Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen, and opioid manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson.

“I took legal action once I took office to try to recoup money for the devastating impact that the opioid epidemic has had on the communities across our state,” Nessel said. “I am pleased to see our work pay off with this historic settlement that will bring Michigan communities millions of dollars to support abatement efforts. I know that no amount of money will make whole the thousands of Michigan families impacted by opioids, but this is an important victory in a hard-fought battle.”

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office will work with participating subdivisions that will receive direct payments from the settlements. Local municipalities will continue to receive information about the settlements as the process continues. Michigan is expected to receive nearly $800 million over 18 years.

“This settlement will allow us to combat opioid addiction in our community through various means including the enhancement and improvement of our problem-solving courts in Genesee County like our successful Recovery Court,” Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton. “Recovery court and other similar programs allow us to hold offenders accountable while at the same time assist them in their battle with addiction and help them get on the road to productivity.”

Defendants will start releasing funds to a national administrator on April 2. State and local governments will start seeing the funds in the second or third quarter of 2022.

The historic national agreement marks the culmination of three years of negotiations to resolve more than 4,000 claims of state and local governments across the country. This is the second-largest multistate agreement in U.S. history, second to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

“Today we take unprecedented and strategic action against the destruction of opiate addiction,” Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson. “This legal victory allows restored hope and justice for the lost. To the suppliers we have a clear message - we are united as one. The rules of engagement have been redrawn and victory is afoot!”

A breakdown of how the settlement money is to be spent on opioid treatment and prevention is available here.