Texas is receiving more than $1 billion in a settlement agreement with three major pharmaceutical distributors over the national opioid epidemic, which will be used for prevention, education, and medication-assisted treatment.
Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Texas’ share of the Global Opioid Litigation Settlement Agreement with the distributors on Feb. 16. The settlement, involving 52 U.S. states and territories, was signed in July 2021.
“We have fought this crisis for over seven years, and today, we are bringing needed relief to the state of Texas,” Attorney General Paxton said during a news conference announcing Texas’ portion of the $26 billion in overall funds.
“Thankfully, because of this significant settlement, counties throughout the state of Texas will have the funds they need to combat the growing epidemic of opioid abuse. States and local governments must use the funding to support any of a wide variety of strategies to fight the opioid crisis.”
He noted more than 4,000 people had died of drug overdoses in Texas in 2020, a 33% increase over the previous year.
“I’m committed to doing everything in my power to get the full share of funds for people in our communities so we can help them get the treatment they need and the recovery resources as quickly as possible.”
Frisco emergency physician Carrie de Moor, MD, chair of the American Association of Women Emergency Physicians Section of the American College of Emergency Physicians, spoke at the news conference, saying there were “no boundaries” to opioid addiction.
“It impacts the people that you’re on the sideline with at soccer games, the people you go to church with, and we are telling an alarming amount of [parents] that their child is not going to wake up again because they have overdosed on an opioid,” she said. “These funds are going to help us use things that we know work, including education and prevention, as well as some [medication]-assisted therapy that actually we know is well-based in science that can help people safely recover without having the overdose occur as they’re trying to get off of the opioids.”
The latest agreement was with drug distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson, and Amerisource Bergen. The state previously reached an agreement with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson – also part of the overall global settlement – to bring $290 million to Texas. According to the announcement from Attorney General Paxton’s office, he has now secured more than $1.89 billion for Texas from the makers and distributors of opioids across five statewide settlements.