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Final Passage of Bill Sets Georgia to Receive Over $636M for Opioid Treatment, Prevention

Attorney General Chris Carr applauds the final passage of SB 500, legislation that positions the state and its local governments to receive the full $636,320,843.82 available for allocation under the $26 billion multistate opioid settlement:

“Since day one, we have continued to fight for our state and local governments to receive 100 percent of the resources available under the multistate opioid settlement,” said Carr. “This legislation ensures Georgia is in the best possible position to maximize its share of relief and immediately access a significant amount of funding for our communities to address this crisis head-on. Opioid addiction knows no bounds, and we continue to hear from local leaders and law enforcement officials, particularly in our rural and exurban areas, who are in desperate need of treatment facilities and prevention services. We appreciate the House and Senate for their unanimous support of this critical measure.”

In January 2022, Carr announced that the State of Georgia had joined the multistate settlement agreement with Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen – the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – and opioid manufacturer and marketer Johnson & Johnson. The settlement agreement resolves investigations and litigation over the companies’ roles in creating and fueling the opioid epidemic, particularly as to whether the three distributors fulfilled their legal duty to refuse to ship opioids to pharmacies that submitted suspicious drug orders and whether Johnson & Johnson misled patients and doctors about the addictive nature of opioid drugs.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, from 2010 to 2020, the total number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Georgia increased by 207 percent. In 2020 alone, 67 percent of drug overdose deaths in Georgia were related to opioids—1,309 total.

The settlement requires the companies to provide substantial funding for opioid treatment and prevention and to implement significant industry changes that will help to prevent this type of crisis from ever happening again. Georgia and its local governments stand to receive roughly $636 million under the settlement agreement.

To ensure Georgia is able to receive 100 percent of the settlement dollars available for allocation, the state is required to enact a litigation bar that prevents local governments from pursuing any further legal action in the future. SB 500 provides for the litigation bar and entitles Georgia to receive approximately $66 million of the settlement with Johnson & Johnson immediately, as opposed to over the next three years.

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Read more on SB 500 HERE. 

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