Some state and local governments have started tapping in to opioid settlement funds for law enforcement expenses. Many argue it should go toward treating addiction instead.
State attorneys general vowed the funds would go toward tackling the addiction crisis. But as with the tobacco payouts of the 1990s, local officials have started using them to fill budget shortfalls.
Victims of prescription opioid addiction as well as communities slammed by the opioid crisis could wind up with nothing if Mallinckrodt files for a second bankruptcy.
A rural south Georgia hospital authority is challenging a 2022 state law that barred local officials from suing opioid manufacturers and distributors.
The city of Atlanta and six metro area counties filed a federal lawsuit this week in the U.S. District Court of North Georgia seeking compensatory and punitive damages against drug companies and pharmacies related to their role in the opioid crisis.
The cash represents an unprecedented opportunity to derail the opioid epidemic. But with countless groups advocating for a share of the pie, the impact could depend heavily on geography and politics.
Georgians affected by the opioid epidemic say they should have a voice in how the state’s $636 million settlement is used.
Cherokee Nation officials say their community has been disproportionately harmed by the opioid crisis. The drug companies deny any wrongdoing.
Payouts will be spread over the next 18 years, with much of the funding going to help communities struggling with high rates of opioid addiction and overdose deaths.