Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced this week that more than $ 60 million in payments from a major opiate deal will be paid to counties and municipalities by the end of the year.
Fifty-eight political subdivisions in Maryland will benefit from the agreement with former opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and opioid distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen.
Maryland will receive nearly $ 400 million over the next 18 years as part of the settlement agreement. The $ 60 million to be distributed by the end of this year is the first part of that total to be sent to participating counties and municipalities.
The funding is aimed at addressing the statewide opioid crisis. Approximately $ 47 million will be distributed to the Maryland Oppioids Restitution Fund, which state lawmakers set up in 2019 to pay for opioid abatement programs.
Another $ 13.5 million will be paid directly to counties and municipalities, Frosh’s office said. Nine Maryland counties will receive total grants or payments ranging from $ 1.3 to $ 7.8 million, and smaller counties and municipalities will receive an additional million dollars in total.
Baltimore County will receive the largest sum, including $ 5 million in targeted reduction grants and $ 2.7 million in direct payments, according to a spreadsheet detailing the estimated payments.
Prince George County, Montgomery County, and Anne Arundel County will also receive between $ 3 and $ 4 million.
Notably absent from the payroll is the city of Baltimore, which has refused to participate in the deal with Johnson & Johnson.
Under the deal, states could receive incentive payments to get more political splits to accept the deal. The opioid defendants could have chosen to withdraw from the settlement if too many plaintiffs rejected the settlement and chose to continue the legal battle in court.
Baltimore’s choice not to join the agreement reduced the overall payment received by Maryland. Michael Sanderson, the executive director of the Maryland Association of Counties, previously told the Daily Record that the loss of Baltimore, one of the largest and most populous jurisdictions in the state, may have reduced total arrivals to Maryland by about $ 100 million.
The Johnson & Johnson deal is expected to total $ 26 billion nationwide.
In a statement, Frosh said the funds will help prevent opioid addiction and death.
“We appreciate the collaboration and hard work that has brought us to this point,” he said. “I am proud of the work done by the state and its subdivisions to hold offenders accountable and provide this relief for the people of Maryland.”
Companies like Johnson & Johnson have faced a series of lawsuits for their role in the opioid epidemic, which has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.
The deal marks the end of a single piece of a huge legal movement that has sought to hold opioid manufacturers, vendors and marketers responsible for the addiction crisis. Other deals were also reached last year with large corporations that profited from opioids.