Governor Walz, Attorney General Ellison Highlight $300 Million to Fight Opioid Epidemic
ST. PAUL, MN (STL.News) Governor Tim Walz held a ceremonial bill signing yesterday with Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, Attorney General Keith Ellison, legislators, and advocates for a bipartisan $300 million opioid response bill. The funding, the result of a multi-state lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies, will be used by communities across the state for opioid education, treatment, prevention, and recovery.
“The opioid epidemic and the pharmaceutical companies that caused it have caused unimaginable pain for families throughout Minnesota,” said Governor Walz. “Opioid addiction takes hundreds of Minnesotans’ lives each year – this bill is a significant step toward holding these companies accountable while providing Minnesotans with resources for recovery. But there is more work to be done.”
“While the damage caused by the opioid crisis cannot be undone, especially in Native and Black communities, this is a step in the right direction to help us move forward as a state,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “To all those living with and suffering from this disease: You are not alone on this journey. We support you, and we’re not stopping here.”
” There is no amount of money that can ever make up for the death and destruction that the opioids companies caused in our state. All the money in the world would not bring back even one of the 5,500 lives in Minnesota that have been lost to this human-made epidemic,” said Attorney General Ellison.
” Nonetheless, it’s been my top priority to hold the opioid companies accountable for the pain they’ve wrought, and my office has now won six settlements with eight opioid companies,” Ellison continued. “This new law means that the money is going where the pain is. Communities in every corner of Minnesota will have more than $300 million for the next 18 years for recovery, prevention, and resilience, so this epidemic can never happen again .”
In February 2022, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced a multi-state $26 billion agreement with major opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, and the three major pharmaceutical distributors: Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen. Minnesota’s share of this agreement is $300 million over the next 18 years. Each state’s share of the takes into consideration the impact of the crisis on the state – the number of overdose deaths, the number of residents with substance use disorder, and the number of opioids prescribed – and the population of the state.