Illinois gets $760 million in opioid settlement with Johnson and Johnson, 3 drug delivery companies – NBC Chicago

Illinois will receive about $760 million from a nationwide settlement finalized Friday with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three major drug distributors for their role in the opioid addiction crisis.

The money will come from a $26 billion legal settlement announced last year.

The state’s share will be distributed to local governments to help address the opioid crisis, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said Friday.

Checks could be cut as early as April, but no money will go directly to opioid victims or their families.

“The opioid epidemic has destroyed countless lives and families across our state and devastated communities and it is imperative that resources reach these areas and be used to alleviate the problem,” Raoul said Friday during a press conference.

“To date, more than 290 local government units in Illinois have joined the settlement, this includes 94 of the state’s 102 counties and 104 of the 113 municipalities eligible to receive direct resources,” he said. .

The plan was announced last year by Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, but the deal was dependent on getting a critical mass of state and local governments on board.

Companies had until Friday to decide whether they felt they had sufficient participation.

A state advisory board will help determine how much money is distributed and where taking into account factors such as population, opioid use rates, overdose deaths and the amount of opioids shipped to various parts. of State.

The legal gears have been grinding on the case for more than four years.

And the problem remains acute.

Opioid overdoses in Illinois increased by 33% between 2019 and 2020. In 2020, there were 2,944 opioid overdose deaths, more than double the number of fatal traffic accidents and more double the number of homicides, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Raoul also said the deal with drug distributors included a guarantee to weed out suspicious opioid orders “so history doesn’t repeat itself.”

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