HARRISBURG, PA — Attorney General Josh Shapiro is reporting that 50 counties, including 5 of the 6 largest counties in the Commonwealth, have agreed to join the historic opioid settlement that would bring more than $1 billion to Pennsylvania, with up to $232 million delivered in 2022.
“Pennsylvania lost 5,172 lives to overdoses in the last year alone, which is 14 Pennsylvanians a day. This settlement is going to provide resources to jumpstart programs that will change lives and impact families across our Commonwealth who are struggling to find treatment and help for those suffering with substance abuse. 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 Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
The $26 billion global settlement with Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen—the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors—and Johnson & Johnson requires significant industry changes that will help prevent this type of crisis from happening again in addition to the funds. Pennsylvania has been one of the lead states in negotiating this settlement, which was announced in July.
“When the county filed its lawsuit in May 2018, we sought two things: to keep these and other similar companies from engaging in the acts and practices that led to the opioid crisis, and to be able to provide additional resources to the communities and families in our county who have been most impacted by their actions,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “The settlement agreement reached by Attorney General Shapiro and several other states provides for significant industry changes, and up to $1 billion that Pennsylvania is set to receive. We want our residents to benefit from that agreement and have resources available to them now and intend to sign on.”
“Delaware County has worked hard to ensure that its share of the State’s settlement proceeds accurately reflects the many challenges presented to the County by the opioid epidemic,” said Delaware County Councilman and member of the Substance Treatment and Overdose Prevention Coalition, Kevin Madden. “While no money could ever truly account for the lives that opioids have ruined, these settlement funds to be received over the next decade and beyond will allow the County to educate its citizens and help remediate the scourge of opioid abuse and the devastation it causes for thousands of residents and their loved ones.”
While it is up to local governments who have signed on to the settlement to decide where the funds will ultimately be allocated, the settlement stipulates that every dollar of funding must be used to combat the opioid crisis. A list of approved opioid remediation uses can be found in Exhibit E of the Janssen settlement agreement. The remaining 17 counties and multiple subdivisions have until next month to sign on and are urged to do so as soon as possible.
“Continuing litigation is incredibly risky, as we’ve seen in Oklahoma where a $465 million judgement 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. We can’t afford to wait – we need these funds flowing into our communities now. We know no dollar amount will bring back all that we have lost, but this settlement will give communities the money to save lives now,” said AG Shapiro.
The following counties have joined the settlement agreement: Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Carbon, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Luzerne, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Perry, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland, and York.
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