'These funds represent hope': North Carolina to receive $750 million as part of opioid settlement

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Thursday, July 22, 2021
North Carolina to receive $750 million as part of opioid settlement
The $26 billion national settlement with Johnson & Johnson and other companies that distributed opioids as addiction and overdose deaths went up.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Nearly $750 million is headed to North Carolina as part of the second-largest settlement in the history of the country.

The $26 billion national settlement announced Wednesday with pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson and three other companies that distributed opioid painkillers as addiction and overdose deaths went up exponentially.

The deal calls for J&J to pay up to $5 billion in addition to billions more from the major national drug distribution companies.

AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health each will contribute $6.4 billion. McKesson will pay $7.9 billion.

"That is a lot of money and that's going to make a real difference in people's lives," said Attorney General Josh Stein, who was one of the lead negotiators.

He said there are restrictions on how the funds can be used.

"It can be used for harm reduction and to keep people alive until they get healthy and well," Stein said. "These funds represent hope, hope for people and hope that they can get treatment so they can live a life free of addiction."

The money will go to a place like Healing Transitions, the non-profit recovery center in Raleigh.

Their mission is to offer innovative peer-based, recovery-oriented services to homeless, uninsured and underserved individuals with alcoholism and other drug addictions.

"In 2014, I was living out of my car and couldn't get off drugs," said Justin Garrity, who is now the director of recovery services at Healing Transitions.

The Cary native came to the center for help, left and then came back again after getting in trouble.

His best friend and another on his street growing up also passed away from overdoses.

"We just want to continue to serve the community and money like this is going to help us do that," Justin said, who noted some of it could be used to expand their men's and women's campus. "there are so many people across North Carolina in Wake County and Raleigh who have been impacted by the opioid crisis, by the epidemic."

North Carolina has already signed on to the deal but other states have 30 days to decide whether to do so. Local governments will have 150 days.

Payouts will hinge on how many governments agree to suspend their opioid lawsuits.