Attorney General: Thurston County to Receive Over $5 Million to Fight Opioid Epidemic


Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced on Monday the state is expected to receive $518 million from a settlement with McKesson Corp., Carnival Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp. after the companies were found to have “played key roles in fueling the opioid epidemic,” according to a news release.

Among the local governments that are receiving payments due to lawsuits linked to opioids, Thurston County will receive $5,000,575.80, while Olympia receives $1,298,476.03, Lacey receives $504,954.85 and Tumwater receives $444,186.21. Grays Harbor County will receive $2,148,372.26, while Aberdeen will receive $535,677.95. Lewis County is set to receive $2,317,136.16, while Centralia receives $410,647.93.

In total, Ferguson’s lawsuits as part of his opioid initiative have earned the state about $750 million.

According to Ferguson’s office, all 125 eligible local governments signed onto the settlement stemming from a lawsuit filed in King County Court on Nov. 15, 2021, ensuring the maximum financial recovery for Washington state. Communities will begin to receive the first payments on Dec. 1.

The most recent settlement represents a sum $46 million larger than what would have been received had Ferguson chosen to take part in a national settlement, according to the attorney general. Ferguson is allocating the additional $46 million to support substance abuse treatment and other strategies to address the opioid crisis, such as housing, according to the release.

Under the settlement, the 125 local governments will receive $215 million to be divided according to an agreement already reached among their representatives. Another $215 million will go to the state government to fund opioid remediation. In all, over $476 million will be paid over a period of 17 years. The first payment will be the largest, totaling $55 million to be received on Dec. 1. The funds will support “improved and expanded treatment options, youth-focused prevention strategies, support for first responders and other evidence-based programs and services that will help communities heal,” according to the announcement from Ferguson’s office.

“This is a major milestone — one of the largest resolutions in Washington state history — but we’re not done fighting back against the opioid epidemic,” Ferguson said. “This represents significant accountability for the opioid distributors that helped fuel the epidemic, as well as urgently needed resources to fight it. The crisis is far from over. Our fight to hold these mega-corporations accountable will continue.”

The settlement marks the second time Ferguson has earned Washington state more money than it would have by joining a national settlement in a pharmaceutical lawsuit, according to the news release.

The first time was in March when Ferguson earned the state $183 million as part of a challenge to the Purdue bankruptcy plan, $113 million more than it would have under the national settlement.

Ferguson chose to decline a settlement with Johnson and Johnson last year, opting instead for a lawsuit that was set to begin in September. Ferguson’s office is also conducting multiple investigations into the activities of other entities involved in the opioid pandemic.


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