Forest Park is opting into a settlement with five opioid manufacturers and pharmacies that can net the village a small portion of millions of dollars coming to Illinois
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Attorneys General in several other states sued those companies to, as a statement released by Raoul’s office put it, “combat the opioid epidemic and hold accountable companies whose deceptive practices increased opioid prescriptions at the expense of public health.” Late in 2022 the parties agreed to settle lawsuits with CVS, Walmart and Walgreens, as well as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries opioid manufacturer, and Allergan, which made opioid products before selling them to Teva in 2016.
The five companies agreed to pay up to around $20 billion, but the percentage each state will get is still being determined. In order to get any portion of those funds, Forest Park had to opt in – which the village council unanimously agreed to do during its March 13 meeting. The village would be able to use funds to address the consequences of opioid addiction — which can include research, counseling programs for first responders and training on how to reverse overdoses, among other uses.
In early 2022, Forest Park opted into an earlier settlement between multiple state and local municipalities and a handful of pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson, and three distributors — McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen.
According to the March 3 memo by Chicago law firm Edelson PC, Walgreens agreed to pay up to $5.7 billion over the next 15 years, Walmart will pay up to $2.75 billion over the next six years, CVS will pay up to $5 billion over the next 10 years, Teva will pay up to $4.25 billion over the next 13 years and Allegran will pay up to $2.37 billion over the next seven years. The memo indicated the exact amount Illinois would get was still being calculated.
However, once that question is resolved, Illinois already has a way to divvy up the money thanks to the Illinois Opioid Allocation Agreement, which covers proceeds from opioid settlements. It dictates that 55% of the payments will go into the Illinois Remediation Fund, which will support programs dealing with consequences of opioid abuse in all parts of the state. The Illinois Opioid Remediation Advisory Board decides how the proceeds are spent, but the agreement specifies that is should “seek to ensure an equitable access to all parts of the state,” taking into account the demographics, the rate of opioid addiction and deaths, and how many opioids have been shipped to the region.
Another 20% will go directly to the state, while 10% will go to the counties that choose to opt in. The remaining 15% will go to municipalities that choose to opt in, with each municipality entitled to a certain percentage – in Forest Park’s case, 0.0453425079%
Whatever the amount ends up being, Forest Park would only be able to use it for purposes related to the consequences of opioid abuse. According to the official list of approved uses, this includes treatment and addiction recovery, helping people who might be at risk of addiction connect to resources, support people who are getting out of prison while dealing with addiction, help pregnant women who may be dealing with addiction and whose opioid abuse may have affected their children’s health. It can also be used to help healthcare providers prescribe opioids in a way that would reduce the risk of patients developing addiction, and generally educating people about dangers of opioids and how to reverse overdoses. It can also be used to help treat trauma in first responders that may lead to opioid abuse, as well as to fund research on things like non-opioid alternatives to pain management and developing better ways to respond to opioid abuse.
For more information about these and other opioid settlements, visit https://nationalopioidsettlement.com/