Cameron expects another opioid settlement soon

In year-end interview, Kentucky AG discusses defending abortion ban, impact of opioid settlement funds and his campaign for governor

BY: MCKENNA HORSLEY (Kentucky Lantern)

FRANKFORT — Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said he is optimistic that more opioid companies “are going to come to the table to help address some of the challenges that they help exacerbate.”

In a year-end interview with the Kentucky Lantern on Monday, Cameron said that he expected an announcement regarding a settlement by the end of this week. 

Earlier this year, the attorney general announced that funds the state received in a settlement with Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBerge, and Johnson & Johnson would be used for programs to address the opioid crisis. The legislature created an Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission to review how to distribute the $478 million. 

The anticipated announcement was one of several topics Cameron discussed in the interview. He also discussed his defense of state laws in ongoing lawsuits that would affect abortion access in the state; his concerns about environmental, social, and governance, or ESG, investment practices in public retirement systems, and how his family influenced his decision to run for governor next year. 

Opioid settlements

Cameron said the settlement dollars will “help bring hope into our communities” and that funding through the Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission  will support Kentuckians  who have struggled with the epidemic.  

“What I tell people is: It’s not a magic elixir. It’s not an end all, be all, but it is a significant down payment in breaking those cycles of addiction. And so, I’m excited for these dollars to start going to programs and projects in communities that can help rehabilitate and restore hope to our towns and cities.”

Cameron said the commission’s priority focus over the next few years will be “looking for meaningful ways in which to roll back and stem the tide of this epidemic.” Right now, that includes listening to communities through town halls and public feedback. 

He also said some settlement proposals received include Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and Teva Pharmaceuticals. 


Cameron says he expects a ruling from the state Supreme Court “within the next week or so” on a lawsuit that would block the enforcement of Kentucky’s abortion ban. Oral arguments were held Nov. 15.

The state Supreme Court is considering whether to block enforcement of state laws banning the procedure and must decide if an injunction that briefly reinstated abortion access in Kentucky could be upheld. 

“It’s our view that obviously the state Supreme Court, having heard the oral arguments now, will ultimately make the determination about how the Human Life Protection Act looks going forward,” Cameron said Monday. ”And again, from our perspective, the Constitution says nothing about a right to an abortion and it’s our view that the Constitution says that and (I am) hopeful that the justices will recognize that as well.” 

Cameron said that his role as the attorney general includes “to stand up and defend the laws that are passed by our General Assembly.” He noted that the legislature gave bipartisan support to the Human Life Protection Act in 2019. The law went into effect after the United States Supreme Court released its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women Health Organization, which Roe v. Wade, which had guaranteed the right to abortion. 

When asked if he favors exceptions for cases of rape and incest in abortion laws, Cameron said that is up to the state legislature depending on the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling. 

“I respect and appreciate what the Human Life Protection Act says and recognize that we need the exception for the life of the mother, and so I support that law as it currently stands. But I understand that there are a range of opinions. This is one of those issues that folks have a lot of different views on and come at with different life experiences. And so I’m hopeful that we will get further guidance from the state Supreme Court and then we can proceed from there.”

Pensions and climate initiatives 

In October, Cameron and state Treasurer Alison Ball wrote a letter to the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System and the Kentucky Public Pension Authority that requested information about environmental, social, and governance, or ESG, investment practices in the management of the retirement systems. 

Also this year, Cameron announced that his office was participating in a multi-state investigation of six national banks for alleged antitrust and consumer protection law violations related to ESG investment practices. The attorneys general issued civil investigative demands and subpoenas to the banks for documents about companies’ involvement with the United Nations’ Net-Zero Banking Alliance. However, the Kentucky Bankers Association sued Cameron and alleged he displayed “amazing and disturbing broad overreach,” WDRB reported

On Thursday, Cameron said the Biden administration and some hedge fund managers circumvented state policies and laws to “push their green energy and in many ways, extreme green energy plans and in policies,” which he believes would have an adverse affect on Kentucky’s economy. 

“We would lose our … competitive advantage, we jeopardize the pensions of school teachers, firefighters, police officers, if hedge fund managers are able to dictate with the money of those teachers and firefighters and police officers, if they are able to dictate the terms of income of investment throughout our country.”

Recent actions

Last week, the attorney general announced his office joined a coalition of 51 attorneys general to urge the Federal Communications Commission to continue efforts to eliminate texts from fraudulent numbers. 

During the interview, Cameron said his office is working with other groups to get information from telecommunication companies on their practices. Compliance has been good so far, he added. 

Also this month, Cameron revealed that Kentucky will receive more than $14 million in a settlement with Juul Labs, an e-cigarette maker. The terms of the agreement include that the company will cease marketing products to minors. The first payment, $1.3 million, is due at the end of the month. The attorney general said the $40 million will go to the state treasury and the legislature will determine how to allocate it. 

Run for governor

Cameron is one of 12 Republicans so far who have announced a campaign for governo next year. Cameron was first elected attorney general in 2019. 

One of the biggest challenges Cameron said he sees for himself is making sure his campaign reaches voters across the state to share his vision and message. He added that he wants to try to be in as many counties as possible. 

Running for governor was a family decision, Cameron said. He and his wife, Makenze, prayed about what it would look like and the best way to go about it. 

“Ultimately, we made a determination that … based on these last three years, we believe that we have something to offer Kentucky in terms of leadership, because we recognize the shared values of the citizens across the Commonwealth of Kentucky and think we need a governor that understands those shared values and can a govern in such a way that those values are reflected.”

McKenna Horsley covers state politics for the Kentucky Lantern. She previously worked for newspapers in Huntington, West Virginia, and Frankfort, Kentucky. She is from northeastern Kentucky.

Republished with permission from Kentucky Lantern under Creative Commons 4.0 License.