By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Guam will receive $11.9 million from the $26 billion opioid agreement with pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson and the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – Cardinal, McKesson,and AmerisourceBergen, Attoeney General Leevin Camacho announced.
The defendants will start releasing funds to a national administrator on April 2, 2022, with the first payments expected to be made to Guam by this summer. “We are delivering on our commitment to secure more resources to address Guam’s drug problem,” said Camacho.“Through yet another historic settlement, we will receive $11.9 million to help our people who are struggling with opioid use disorder and co-occurring disorders.” The agreement marks the culmination of three years of negotiations to resolve more than 4,000 claims of state and local governments across the United States and its territories. It is the second largest multistate agreement in U.S. and Guam history, second only to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. Fifty-two states and territories have signed on to the agreement. Negotiations were led by Attorneys General Josh Stein (NC) and Herbert Slatery (TN) and the attorneys general from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Late last year, Governor Leon Guerrero signed into law Public Law (PL) No. 36-64, The Opioid Prevention and Treatment Act. This established an opioid recovery trust fund to receive settlement proceeds; it also created an advisory counsel to direct spending. PL 36-64 also designates the Guam Office of the Attorney as the single agency to bring opioid claims on behalf of Guam. “The single-agency designation allows Guam to receive 100 percent of its settlement share,” said Camacho.
About a year ago, Camacho announced that Guam would receive $280,000 from a settlement with consulting firm McKinsey & Company for its role in helping PurduePharma and other opioid companies promote their drugs and “turbocharging” the opioid epidemic.
Those funds are being directed toward service providers to assist with drug treatment and recovery efforts; outreach and education on addiction; and data gathering which will assist in securing additional resources in the future.