The New York Times: Tribes Reach $590M Opioid Settlement with J&J and Distributors

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On Tuesday, a $590 million provisional settlement was reached with Johnson & Johnson and the country’s three largest medication wholesalers. Hundreds of Native American tribes have experienced abnormally high rates of addiction and mortality amid the opioid crisis. The tribes will be paid a total of $665 million, which includes a $75 million settlement made between the distributors and the Cherokee Nation last November. Purdue Pharma has already committed tens of millions of dollars. By many measures, Native Americans have a disproportionately high rate of opioid-related overdose fatalities. In 2016, Oglala Lakota County in South Dakota, home to the Oglala Lakota tribe, had an opioid-related fatality rate of 21 per 100,000 persons, more than double the state average. Pregnant American Indian women were up to 8.7 times more likely than pregnant women from other demographic groups to be diagnosed with opioid dependence or abuse, according to one research. About 15% of the total will go toward legal expenses and other litigation costs, but the majority will go toward addiction treatment and prevention programs that will be monitored by tribe health care specialists. The full article by Jan Hoffman can be viewed here

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