Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced on Friday that Kentucky received $483 million from a settlement with drug distributors. The commonwealth’s share of the historic $26 billion settlement will fund programs to address the opioid epidemic. The agreement settles claims with Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson & Johnson for the companies’ roles in the opioid epidemic.
“We’ve fought to ensure that the opioid companies are held accountable for their roles in creating this crisis and that Kentucky receives the funding it is due for the harm these terrible drugs have inflicted upon our neighbors, friends, and loved ones,” Cameron said. “This funding cannot come quickly enough, and we will continue to work closely with the legislature and local governments to ensure the funds are put toward programs that will stop the cycle of addiction and help heal our communities.”
The Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission will oversee the distribution of the settlement. The group is expected to establish a process for eligible opioid abatement programs to apply for settlement dollars.
Kentucky will distribute its share of the settlement according to the terms of House Bill 427, which created the commission and required local governments to receive 50% of all settlement proceeds. Representative Danny Bentley (R-Russell) sponsored the measure that passed unanimously in 2021. The Kentucky League of Cities worked closely with the legislature and the attorney general on the agreement. Kentucky League of Cities President and Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott attended Friday’s news conference at the Capitol.
“Today’s news comes as Kentuckians in every community across the commonwealth struggle to overcome opioid addiction and provides all of us with a glimmer of hope that this scourge may be defeated and the lives of so many restored,” said Speaker of the House David Osborne (R-Prospect). “I appreciate the attorney general’s commitment to this settlement and Representative Danny Bentley for ensuring that state and local governments have access to the resources needed for recovery and prevention efforts.”
“The opioid epidemic has been personal to me because it has impacted the 25th district so drastically,” said Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester). “I and many others have and are working to turn the tide on this crisis, but to be successful, it will take each of us as partners. Today is one more step toward our goal to save lives and help people seek the redemption they need to lead a better life.”
Battling substance abuse and its effects is a top legislative priority for the Kentucky League of Cities.