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Millions more coming to state in another opioid abuse settlement

DES MOINES — Iowa is set to receive up to $170 million from a lawsuit settlement with four companies accused of contributing to the nation’s opioid addiction and overdose crisis.

The state’s share comes as part of a 26 billion dollar deal involving drug-maker Johnson and Johnson and three opioid distributors who admit no liability as part of the agreement. Attorney General Tom Miller says the money will be spent primarily on treatment and education.

“One of the things I want to do is use the money if the most effective way to treat people but also make sure that the benefits, the treatment, is throughout the whole state,” Miller says.

Opioid-related deaths in Iowa increased more than 30 percent last year to 213. “It’s not going to be enough money to solve the whole problem. We’re not going to have money to throw around,” according to Miller. “But we think there’s going to be enough money, if we spend it wisely, to make a real dent in this problem and to really help.”

Miller says the money will be paid over a period of 17 years and the final amount will depend on how many Iowa counties sign on to the settlement. He says around two-thirds have signed up thus far. Iowa is also part of settlements with the consulting firm McKinsey and a pending bankruptcy settlement with Purdue Pharma. All told, the state could receive up to 200 million dollars through opioid litigation.


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