The opioid crisis in the United States continues to be a cause of concern, affecting thousands of individuals and communities. In 2019, the National Institute for Drug Abuse reported nearly 50,000 cases of opioid-related deaths. The increasing number of opioid overdose deaths can be attributed to an increase in the prescription of opioid painkillers and the availability of opioid drugs on the market. Opioid litigation settlements can be put to good to good use in local communities.
To address the opioid crisis, many communities took a collective effort to halt the opioid epidemic by filing a lawsuit against three big distribution companies and one manufacturer. This was achieved through the counsel of skilled opioid lawyers and is the first step towards community rehabilitation.
New York State Settlement
New York Attorney General, Leticia James, announced the settlement of $1.1B against AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson. The companies distributed opioid drugs for many years without regard for the rise in opioid use in local communities.
The three companies are the most prominent pharmaceutical distributors responsible for distributing and selling opioid painkillers. The three distribution companies, along with manufacturer Johnson and Johnson, were accused of proliferating and profiting from the increasing opioid use in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Opioid lawyers from Napoli Shkolnik represented Nassau County. This settlement in New York State precedes that of the national settlement, which followed weeks later.
Following the state settlement in New York, a bipartisan coalition of state attorneys announced a national settlement with Johnson and Johnson and the three pharmaceutical distributors. This settlement, worth $26B, will be paid out by the companies involved over eighteen years.
Even with the decision in place, Johnson and Johnson holds firm in denying that they intentionally withheld information about the harmful effects of the drug. This lack of public information led to the proliferation of opioid abuse and the increase in opioid pain relievers taken as prescription drugs.
As part of the settlement, Johnson and Johnson has agreed to stop the manufacture of opioid drugs.
Effect on Communities
After reaching settlements in the state of New York and on a national level, communities are slowly working together to rebuild. With the help of opioid lawyers, affected communities now have the funds needed to spearhead rehabilitation programs and stop the proliferation of the opioid epidemic.
It has been agreed upon that the money from the state settlement will be funneled into a New York Qualified Settlement Fund. This fund will be used by the New York State Office of Addiction Services for activities geared towards rehabilitating individuals with opioid addiction. Individual municipalities will also receive around 11% of the money from the settlement to be released in the form of unrestricted grants and to be spent on curbing opioid addiction.
In addition to the monetary compensation, the results of the opioid litigation will also pave the way for better business practices for companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of opioid products.
Skilled opioid lawyers have made this settlement possible and have enabled communities to move forward past the looming opioid crisis. Affected communities can bounce back by using the opioid litigation settlements from the state and national settlements to create treatment plans and regulate business practices involving opioid drug distribution in their area.
If you have been affected by the opioid crisis and are wondering what your legal options are, get in touch with Napoli Shkolnik’s nationally renowned opioid lawyers. We’re dedicated to your best interests and to combatting this epidemic!