Nevada to receive $285 million in opioid settlements

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Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

Nevada will receive more than $285 million from two settlements with major drug manufacturers and will use the funds to fight the opioid epidemic, Attorney General Aaron Ford announced Tuesday.

The money will come from three sources: a multistate settlement with the three largest opioid distributors; an agreement with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and its U.S.-based Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies; and a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to increase rural counties’ access to mitigation and health programs.

“The funds that our state will receive going forward will help us save lives and mitigate the harms done to our residents because of the ongoing opioid epidemic,” said AG Ford. “Our team has worked diligently to get Nevada the resources we must have to help Nevadans in need in one of the epidemic’s hardest-hit states, and to obtain justice from many opioid manufacturers and distributors. While no settlement will bring back those lost to opioids, these funds will be used to prevent further loss of life and help heal Nevada’s families

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Attorney General Aaron Ford

Earlier this year, the state, along with all Nevada counties, and cities that currently have active litigation against opioid companies, came to an agreement on the intrastate allocation of funds from opioid-related recoveries. This One Nevada Agreement on
Allocation of Opioid Recoveries provides a framework for how funds from any Nevada opioid-related settlement will be allocated among the state and various local governmental entities and used to remediate the harms, impact and risks caused by the opioid epidemic in the state.

Lyon County, the City of Fernley, North Lyon County Fire Protection District and Central Lyon County Fire Protection District are among the local governments in the One Nevada Agreement.

Nevada will participate in a $26 billion opioid settlement with the three largest opioid distributors – AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson – that will bring much-needed resources to Nevada. The Attorney General is optimistic that the Nevada local governments through the One Nevada Agreement will join with the State in the settlement, which will result in Nevada receiving $231,679,409 over a period of 18 years under the settlement.

“Entering into this settlement means that Nevada will start receiving funds as early as the first quarter of 2022 to begin funding programs to fight the opioids epidemic throughout the entire state,” Ford said. “There is no question that the opioid epidemic has devastated Nevada and money is needed now to address comprehensive statewide remediation.”

Nevada will settle with Johnson & Johnson and its U.S.-based Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies to resolve the companies’ role in the state’s opioid epidemic. Similar to the agreement with the distributors, the Attorney General is optimistic that the Nevada local governments, through the One Nevada Agreement, will join with the State in the settlement, which will result in Nevada receiving $53,508,792, 95 percent of which is payable by the end of 2022. This is a much faster timeframe than most of the settlements between other states and Johnson & Johnson, many of which are payable over a period of nine years.

In a lawsuit filed by Office of the Attorney General, Nevada alleges that the manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies and individuals created an ecosystem of addiction with deadly consequences to the state and its residents for their own profit. The claims are outlined in the second amended complaint, but the settlements with the distributors and one manufacturer will only release claims against the three major distributors and that manufacturer. Nevada will continue to pursue its claims against several other opioid manufacturers and pharmacy defendants.

Nevada has received a $5.75 million grant from the Department of Justice for the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant and Substance Abuse Site-based Program (COSSAP) grant, a collaboration between the Nevada Office of the Attorney General, State Department of Health and Human Services, Northern Regional Behavioral Health Coordinator and seven subaward sites.

The funding will be used primarily in rural and frontier Nevada to either establish or expand the Mobile Outreach Safety Teams (MOST) and Forensic Assessment Services Triage Teams (FASTT) in counties where the subaward sites are located. MOST serves as a jail and hospital diversion program, while FASTT provides assessment and case management for high-risk individuals and those with mental health and other disorders. The funding will also be used by the counties’ community coalitions to continue naloxone distribution and drug take-back days.

“The opioid epidemic does not end at county lines, and many rural and frontier counties must combat this crisis with few services,” said AG Ford. “When speaking with rural and frontier law enforcement and community leaders, I often hear how mental health and addiction continue to wreck families and affect public safety. I am proud that our Office obtained this grant so that we can better support mental health services and ease the burden on the criminal justice system across Nevada.”

This grant is designed to provide resources to those in rural and frontier counties in the state, many of whom have limited access to health care and mental health facilities. The subaward sites and their county locations are as follows:

  • Partnership Carson City (Carson City)
  • Churchill Community Coalition (Churchill County)
  • Partnership Douglas County (Douglas County)
  • Healthy Communities Coalition (Lyon County)
  • Community Chest, Inc. (Storey County)
  • Nye Community Coalition (Nye and Lincoln Counties

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