Florida part of major opioid settlements

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Florida is slated to receive as much as $1.6 billion in multi-state legal settlements with three pharmaceutical distributors and one drug manufacturer stemming from the opioid epidemic, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced Wednesday.

Florida was one of 14 states that negotiated the agreements with distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. In all, the companies could pay up to $26 billion over a series of years. A news release from Moody’s office said the total amount of funding will be determined by the degree of participation by state and local governments, including those not involved in the litigation. It said the “substantial majority” of the money will be spent on opioid treatment, prevention and recovery services. Moody said 21 Floridians die each day because of opioid overdoses.

“We are so excited that we will be getting much-needed resources into our state, to start helping us recover as soon as possible,” Moody told The News Service of Florida.

Last year, Florida ranked second in the nation, behind California, in the number of drug overdose deaths. The settlement with the distributors will require them to create a database showing where drugs are being sent and how often, making it easier to detect suspiciously large orders. Johnson & Johnson will be required to stop selling opioids for 10 years.

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