Attorneys General aim to fight opioid epidemic

JACKSON, Tenn.–“This is a national crisis,” said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.

A national crisis that Stein said demands a national solution.

With the help of attorneys general Herbert Slatery of Tennessee, Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, and Ken Paxton of Texas, a $48 billion settlement will provide funds and treatment drugs, plus prevention of pill mills.

“The opioid epidemic is devastating individuals, families and communities, all across our country,” Stein said.

The settlement framework has made agreements with several corporations including Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmersourceBergen, Johnson & Johnson, and Teva over what the attorneys said is the companies’ role in the opioid epidemic.

“People are in need of treatment today, and the four of us are doing everything in our power to negotiate a global settlement,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery said the settlement will change practices to require a compliance officer to take a closer look at opioid purchases.

“There is a lot more structure to what this is, there will be a lot more information and frankly because the problem is going to be followed a lot more closely,” Slatery said.

“It will ensure that opioids never flood any of our communities ever again,” Stein said.

The $48 billion deal will include $22 billion in cash to companies for addiction treatment plans and services, plus $26 billion to the companies for products and services to distribute pharmaceutical treatment all over a 10-year period.

“Our next step is to move quickly to finalize this deal consistent with the framework my colleagues and I have just described,” Stein said.

The attorneys general also added if they can’t get states to join the agreement there will be a “random haphazard litigation that will not work to the benefit of the people of America,” Shapiro said.

The attorneys general said they are looking for responses from other states within the coming days and weeks.

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