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NORWICH, CT - MARCH 23: Oxycodone pain pills prescribed for a patient with chronic pain lie on display on March 23, 2016 in Norwich, CT. Communities nationwide are struggling with the unprecidented opioid pain pill and heroin addiction epidemic. On March 15, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), announced guidelines for doctors to reduce the amount of opioid painkillers prescribed, in an effort to curb the epidemic. The CDC estimates that most new heroin addicts first became hooked on prescription pain medication before graduating to heroin, which is stronger and cheaper. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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Utah Set To Receive $309 Million From Nationwide Opioid Settlement 

NORWICH, CT - MARCH 23: Oxycodone pain pills prescribed for a patient with chronic pain lie on display on March 23, 2016 in Norwich, CT. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Spencer Cox and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced Utah is set to receive $309 million dollars as a part of a $26 billion settlement with a number of pharmaceutical companies who contributed to the opioid epidemic.

Utah and other states would have to approve the settlement before receiving any of the money.

Utah, several other states and local governments sued Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson for contributing to the nationwide opioid problem. The agreement was first reported on Wednesday.

“The impacts of the opioid epidemic have been and continue to be devastating to thousands of Utahns and their families, so I appreciate the Department of Commerce and the Attorney General’s Office negotiating this agreement on behalf of Utah,” Cox said. “I look forward to working with the Legislature to determine the best use of these funds to benefit Utahns affected by the opioid crisis.”

Reyes released a statement that said, “This is a reckoning long overdue. It has taken us years of hard-fought investigation, prosecution and negotiation to arrive at this landmark settlement. But that is nothing compared to the years of suffering from so many in our state.” The Reyes statement added, “The opioid epidemic has torn apart families and needlessly killed thousands of Utahns. It continues to ravage lives every day.”

Also under the agreement, the companies were required to reform the industry so this type of addiction epidemic cannot happen again, the news release said.

Utah’s $309 million dollar portion of the settlement will be paid out over 18 years.

The settlement allows states 30 days to decide whether to approve the agreement. Local governments will have 150 days to decide.

The news release said opioid overdose deaths rose by a record increase of 93,000 (30%) in 2020 compared to 2019.

An FAQ about the settlement can be found here.

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