Colorado joins $26B settlement to address opioid crisis


DENVER (AP) — A proposed $26 billion settlement with the nation’s three largest drug distribution companies and the drugmaker Johnson & Johnson would bring at least $300 million to Colorado to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis.

State Attorney General Phil Weiser said Wednesday the deal is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity,” and Colorado needs to make the most of it.

The settlement was struck between more than 40 states, thousands of municipalities and AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson and Johnson & Johnson. An additional $100 million from a previous settlement with Purdue Pharma would mean that a total of $400 million in funding would go toward addressing what Weiser called an “American tragedy,” The Denver Post reported.

Colorado’s portion of the settlement would be distributed through a bottom-up approach, Weiser said, with each region deciding which priorities makes sense locally.

The money could reach Colorado communities in the next year, with annual payments from the drug companies occurring over 18 years. It would have to be spent on addiction and treatment-related programs.

Weiser said the state currently can only meet about 30% of its drug treatment needs.


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