Indiana is expected to receive millions from its lawsuits filed against the manufacturers and distributors of opioids. The state will also be receiving government grant money to aid it in its war against opioid addiction, the Washington Examiner reported.
The state will get tens of millions of dollars in state and federal assistance to deal with the opioid problem, including $45 million from the federal government that was earmarked in the Omnibus Appropriations bill that passed last fall, $45 million to $60 million from the American Rescue Plan Act passed in the spring, and $100 million from the state of Indiana that was in the budget bill that passed last month — $50 million in fiscal 2022 and another $50 million in fiscal 2023.
The total amount of money the state is expected to receive over the next two years will likely exceed $700 million.
Cory Voight, with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, reviewed all the lawsuits the state has filed, starting with its suit against Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, filed in November 2018, followed by a second suit the state filed against the Sackler family, who owns Purdue Pharma, in May 2019.
Both suits were halted when Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy protection, Voight said.
A judge in New York is reviewing Purdue Pharma’s $7 billion proposed bankruptcy plan.
“Thousands of Hoosiers have lost their lives to opioid overdoses in the last several years,” Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita had said in March when the plan was announced, “and I am encouraged that this plan will lead to much-needed and long-overdue aid for our citizens. The opioid epidemic continues to plague our great state, and I will do all I can to see that this plan helps end our citizens’ suffering,” the Examiner reported.
To collect the full amounts available, Voight said the state must demonstrate that it has a plan.
The Indiana plan in place is directed by the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), which will divide the state into regions — with money allocated to each region to address the opioid addiction crisis.
Marion and Lake counties will be their own regions, Voight said, based on their population.
Voight said Indiana should get its first distribution of money from the Purdue Pharma settlement before the end of the year, and the funds must be used for treatment, prevention and education programs.
In addition to the Purdue Pharma and Sackler family suits, in October 2019 Indiana had filed a third lawsuit — this one against the companies that distributed opioids to pharmacies in the state: Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen.
The potential settlement in this case is expected to be about $21 billion and will be distributed to all the states involved, most likely starting in early 2022, Voight said.
There is also a potential settlement with Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen subsidiary, which makes an opioid that was distributed in Indiana. This settlement, Deputy Attorney General Betsy DeNardi said, is expected to be $5 billion for all states combined.
But the amount of money the state gets will depend on whether the state has the "buy-in" of cities and counties that also sued the company for its role in the state’s opioid crisis, she said.
In 2020, 816 Hoosiers died of an opioid overdose — either from prescription painkillers or from heroin or fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. This was down from 2019, when the number of opioid overdose deaths was 1,246, according to the Examiner.
The highest death rate from opioid overdoses was in Fayette County, near the Ohio border, where the rate of death from an opioid overdose between 2013 and 2017 was 58.8 per 100,000 population, the Examiner reported.
“We all know this is one-time money,” said Jay Chaudhary of FSSA of the programs being set up to distribute these funds. “We want this to be a journey to a healthier and happier Indiana by 2025.”
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