Walmart, Kentucky reach opioid settlement for more than $53 million

BY: MCKENNA HORSLEY (Kentucky Lantern)

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Wednesday announced an opioid settlement between Walmart and Kentucky for more than $53 million. 

“This agreement with Walmart provides the Commonwealth with over $53 million to help Kentuckians who have been harmed by the opioid epidemic,” Cameron said in a news release. “The Commonwealth is among the states hardest hit by this scourge. This office continues to act to protect our citizens from drug addiction. I’m pleased that Walmart has come to the table to help fund our efforts to end the opioid crisis.”

In a Monday interview with the Kentucky Lantern, the attorney general said he was optimistic that more companies “are going to come to the table to help address some of the challenges that they help exacerbate.”

Wednesday’s announcement said the agreement “resolves allegations that the company contributed to the opioid epidemic by failing to implement appropriate policies, procedures, and controls relating to the dispensing of opioids at its stores.”

Other attorneys general involved in the negotiations were from the states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. 

Last year, 2,250 Kentuckians died as a result of overdoses, and 90% were related to opioids, the press release said. Nationally, opioid overdose deaths rose to more than 80,000. 

Most of the $53 million Kentucky will receive will be distributed to state and local governments next year. House Bill 427, which was signed into law in 2021, dictates that 50% of the funds will go to local governments and the other half to the state. The Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission will administer the funds. 

“Once this settlement is final, Kentucky will stand to receive over $531 million from companies for their role in the opioid epidemic,” the press release said. 

Walmart’s agreement includes terms similar to those in the settlement reached with Cardinal, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson and Johnson. 

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 under Creative Commons 4.0 License

📸 “Opioids can be like a deadly poison” (Adobe Stock)