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Michigan’s $81 Million Opioid Settlement Distribution Set to Begin

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that participating local governments throughout Michigan can expect to see funds as soon as later this month a result of the Department’s participation in two multi-state opioid settlements.

“I am relieved the court ruled in accordance with the law, and I thank the judge for the keen attention she paid to this important matter,” said Nessel. “It’s critical that communities throughout Michigan are indemnified for the harm they suffered due to the recklessness of the opioid manufacturers and distributors. The frivolous challenge by Ottawa County delayed millions of dollars from being put to good use to help Michigan residents our communities recover.”

The settlement money’s distribution was expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2022 but was held up by legal challenges brought by the Ottawa County Commission. This morning, Wayne County Circuit Judge Patricia Fresard granted the Attorney General’s request for summary disposition, clearing any roadblocks with the settlement distributions, which could now start by January 31.

The $81 million that will be available later this month encompasses the first three payments of these settlements. Since September, the National Settlement Administrator has provided three Notices of Payment totaling about $81.6 million. Ottawa County had disputed all three payments, which held up payments to all local governments.

Michigan is anticipating over $1.45 billion from opioid settlements. This includes some settlements that are still in process. The opioid settlement funds that the State of Michigan receives will be directed to the Michigan Opioid Healing and Recovery Fund (MCL 12.253). This fund was created by the Legislature in 2022. The Legislature also created the Opioid Advisory Commission (MCL 4.1851) to make recommendations on the State’s opioid fund.  


State negotiations were led by Attorneys General Josh Stein (NC), Herbert Slatery (TN) and the attorneys general from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The agreement in principle was reached by all parties in October of 2019 and the parties have been working on the particulars of the settlement since then.  

 Funding Overview:

  • The three distributors collectively will pay up to $21 billion over 18 years.  
  • Johnson & Johnson will pay up to $5 billion over nine years with up to $3.7 billion paid during the first three years.   
  • The total funding distributed will be determined by the overall degree of participation by both litigating and non-litigating state and local governments.  
  • The substantial majority of the money is to be spent on opioid treatment and prevention.  
  • Each state's share of the funding has been determined by agreement among the states using a formula that takes into account the population of the state along with the impact of the crisis on the state - the number of overdose deaths, the number of residents with substance use disorder, and the number of opioids prescribed.  

Injunctive Relief Overview: 

  • Requires Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, through court orders, to:
  • Establish a centralized independent clearinghouse to provide all three distributors and state regulators with aggregated data and analytics about where drugs are going and how often, eliminating blind spots in the current systems used by distributors.
  • Use data-driven systems to detect suspicious opioid orders from customer pharmacies.
  • Terminate customer pharmacies' ability to receive shipments, and report those companies to state regulators, when they show certain signs of diversion.
  • Prohibit shipping of and report suspicious opioid orders.
  • Prohibit sales staff from influencing decisions related to identifying suspicious opioid orders. 
  • Require senior corporate officials to engage in regular oversight of anti-diversion efforts.
  • Requires Johnson & Johnson, through court orders, to:  
  • Stop selling opioids.
  • Not fund or provide grants to third parties for promoting opioids.
  • Not lobby on activities related to opioids.  
  • Share clinical trial data under the Yale University Open Data Access Project. 

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

A national website has been created to provide additional information on the settlement.

If you or a loved one need opioid addiction treatment, there are resources to help.


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