About the Settlements
After years of negotiations led by Attorney General Josh Stein and others, two nationwide settlement agreements are in effect that resolve all opioid litigation brought by state and local governments against the three largest drug distributors, McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen (“distributors”), and one manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and its parent company Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”).
The settlements require that the distributors and J&J pay $26 billion over 18 years, with approximately $22.7 billion available to state and local governments to address the opioid epidemic through treatment, recovery, harm reduction, and other life-saving programs and services. The settlements also include new rules to prevent diversion of prescription opioids and make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
The State of North Carolina, all 100 counties, and 47 municipalities have formally joined the settlements. This 100% participation by counties and larger municipalities in the Wave One Settlements enabled the state and local governments to receive 100% of our collective share of the national settlement funds. North Carolina’s $750 million share of settlement funds are being distributed among state and local governments pursuant to the North Carolina Memorandum of Agreement on the use of opioid settlement funds.
The first payments from these settlements were received by North Carolina’s state and local governments starting on May 31, 2022. Read the press release. The 2022-2023 state budget devotes the state government’s initial $14 million from these settlements to expanding various opioid abatement strategies and to providing support to local governments’ efforts to effectively spend the money they receive from the settlements. For more information, see pages 90-91 of the state budget.
The North Carolina Department of Justice will continue to provide up-to-date information and resources on the national opioid settlements. Read the press release announcing the settlements and the press release announcing all 100 North Carolina counties and numerous municipalities have joined.