DC to get more than $47M from opioid industry settlement

FILE - This June 17, 2019, file photo shows 5-mg pills of Oxycodone. The nation's top public health agency on Thursday proposed changing — and in some instances, dulling — guidelines for U.S. doctors prescribing oxycodone and other opioid painkillers.(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)(AP/Keith Srakocic)

D.C. will get more than $47 million from a settlement with drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and three distributors for their role in perpetuating the opioid crisis, according to the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.

The District is expected to receive almost $9 million from Johnson & Johnson, which will be paid out over a span of 10 years. The other $38 million will come from distributors McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal, which will be paid over a span of 18 years.

“The opioid epidemic has ravaged communities across the country, including the District which had the fourth highest opioid overdose rate in 2019,” said District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine. “Opioid deaths increased to 411 in 2020, and the preliminary data for 2021 is not showing any improvement.”

The settlements are the largest to date among the many opioid-related cases that have been playing out across the country.

The settlement resolves multiyear investigations and lawsuits stemming from the role opioid manufacturers and their distributors played in creating and exacerbating the opioid epidemic in the District and across the country.

“Tragically, Black D.C. residents are disproportionately impacted, as they accounted for 84% of overdose fatalities in the last six years,” Racine said. “Our city can, and must do more to creatively and effectively save lives. This is a public health crisis and a social justice issue.”

In 2020, drug overdoses took the lives of over 81,000 Americans. In the District, opioid deaths hit record numbers and disproportionately impacted Black residents, according to the news release from the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.

“My office will continue to hold accountable those responsible for the opioid crisis and we’ll keep seeking to secure resources to help impacted residents,” Racine said.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up