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AG Nessel, Community Officials Promote Historic Opioid Settlements

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is joined today by county and city leaders as they highlight next steps in the $26 billion opioid settlements with the nation's three major pharmaceutical distributors - Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen - and opioid manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson. 

"I took legal action once I took office to try to recoup money for the devastating impact that the opioid epidemic has had on the communities across our state," Nessel said. "I am pleased to see our work pay off with this historic settlement that will bring Michigan communities millions of dollars to support abatement efforts. I know that no amount of money will make whole the thousands of Michigan families impacted by opioids, but this is an important victory in a hard-fought battle." 

The Department of Attorney General's team assisting in the State's portion of the settlements continues to work with participating subdivisions that will receive direct payments. Local municipalities will continue to receive information about the settlements as the process unfolds.  

The defendants will start releasing funds to a national administrator on April 2, 2022. Money will start flowing to state and local governments in the second or third quarter of 2022. 

"Being in the trenches of fighting the opioid crisis, we can readily visualize the huge positive impact this settlement would have in various Michigan communities," Dr. Chad Audi, President and CEO of Detroit Rescue Mission, said. "Kudos to the Michigan Department of Attorney General for its remarkable collaborative efforts in encouraging and highlighting such impact." 

"On behalf of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, we are excited to stand with Attorney General Dana Nessel and other stakeholders to highlight the impact of this settlement agreement with the drug distributors and Johnson & Johnson," Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington said. "Our Narcotics team is hard at work fighting this crisis every day.   We look forward to working with all stakeholders as we fight this fight together." 

"This long overdue settlement holds pharmaceutical companies accountable, will save lives and help keep families intact," Oakland County Executive David Coulter said. "The funding will allow us to work with our partners in the county and the communities to expand existing prevention and treatment programs and boost our rapid response that will deploy the resources needed to reduce opioid overdoses and deaths. We also are developing new initiatives that will help more people be successful on their road to recovery." 

"The opioid addiction has reached far and deep into American society," Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said. "I am pleased that Michigan has a settlement from the manufacturers that hopefully will allow us to support and connect those suffering from addiction to a path forward." 

"This historic settlement will provide Macomb County with critical resources to aid those most impacted by the opioid epidemic," Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel said. "Early on, Macomb County was a leading voice highlighting the tragic realities of the opioid epidemic. Now working with trusted community partners, healthcare leaders and treatment and prevention experts we will utilize these resources to provide hope and healing to those that need it most." 

Nessel joined the metro Detroit leaders this morning during a press conference at Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries. Additional media stops are scheduled in Flint and Lansing later today. 

"The mission statement of St. Andrew's is 'Feed My Sheep', taken from St. John's Gospel 21:15-17. It has been and continues to be our mission to feed God's people physically, emotionally and spiritually on the east side of Flint. It is our hope that this gathering will be beneficial to our city, out county and state," Rev. Dr. Jay Gantz of St. Andrews Episcopal Church said, who is hosting the Flint stop this afternoon. 

"This settlement will allow us to combat opioid addiction in our community through various means including the enhancement and improvement of our problem-solving courts in Genesee County like our successful Recovery Court," Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said. "Recovery court and other similar programs allow us to hold offenders accountable while at the same time assist them in their battle with addiction and help them get on the road to productivity." 

"Today we take unprecedented and strategic action against the destruction of opiate addiction," Genesee County Sheriff Christopher R. Swanson said. "This legal victory allows restored hope and justice for the lost. To the suppliers we have a clear message - we are united as one. The rules of engagement have been redrawn and victory is afoot!" 

"Lansing, and communities across Michigan, will have access to these settlement funds to help recover from devastating effects of the opioid epidemic," Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said. "It has taken a toll on our residents, our first responders, and our local health agencies. Thank you to Attorney General Nessel for her leadership in ensuring we can begin to recover from this crisis." 

"Between 2019 and 2021, Ingham County saw a 31.5% increase in opioid-related deaths. The COVID-19 pandemic further spotlighted systemic inequities and gaps in care, including disproportionate access to services or treatment for those with increased vulnerability," Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said. "Following this settlement, our community aims to bolster our rapid response by improving access to harm reduction services and treatment, resources, and training to ensure that we are addressing the needs of those affected by opioid use."

This historic national agreement marks the culmination of three years of negotiations to resolve more than 4,000 claims of state and local governments across the country. It is the second largest multistate agreement in U.S. history, second only to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. 

A breakdown of how the settlement money is to be spent on opioid treatment and prevention is available here

Additional information about the opioid settlements is available on the Department of Attorney General's website

In addition to prioritizing accountability related to the opioid crisis, AG Nessel serves on the Michigan Opioids Task Force. The group released its 2020 Annual Report last year, which noted opioid overdoses killed 1,768 Michiganders in 2019 - an average of almost five people every single day. If you or a loved one need opioid addiction treatment, there are resources to help