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Montana will receive $80M in J&J opioid settlement

| March 4, 2022 7:00 AM

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana will receive $80 million as its share of a nationwide settlement with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three major drug distributors over their role in the opioid crisis, Attorney General Austin Knudsen said Friday.

"Opioid overdoses have killed hundreds of Montanans and thousands more struggle with addiction," Knudsen said in a statement. "The millions of dollars we secured in this settlement will help us save lives and treat those who need help."

Nationally, the settlement with Johnson & Johnson, Amerisource Bergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson totals $26 billion over 18 years. About $590 million will be set aside for federally recognized Native American tribes.

In Montana, 15% of the funding — or eventually $12 million — will be distributed among counties and larger cities for things like opioid treatment or making the prescription drug naloxone — which reverses overdoses — available to first responders.

The state will also receive 15% of the settlement. Representatives from the Attorney General's Office and the state health department will decide how that money is spent.

The majority — 70% or $56 million — will be placed in a statewide opioid abatement trust, which will be overseen by a 10-member advisory committee made up mostly of people with experience in issues related to addiction, mental health, public health and law enforcement. The committee will allocate the funding to pay for preventive and other efforts to decrease the addictive use of opioid pain relievers. It could also be used to fund drug treatment courts.