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Rutledge Announces Arkansas, Cities and Counties to Split $216 Million in Opioid Settlement

Says, ‘Our MOU will help save lives through education and treatment of those battling addiction across Arkansas’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today stood with local law enforcement and leaders from cities and counties throughout the State to announce the signed Arkansas Opioids Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The agreement clarifies the allocation and use of $216 million in the national settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors and that each party – cities, counties and state – will receive one-third of the funds.

“By bringing the cities, counties and State together, all Arkansas communities will have access to funds for the prevention, education, and treatment of opioid use,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Far too many Arkansans have felt the impact of the opioid epidemic. Our MOU will help save lives through education and treatment of those battling addiction across Arkansas.”

The MOU breaks down the allocation of funds for each party. The State of Arkansas will repay any Medicaid funds from its allocated share and Counsel for the State will be paid by the State. Arkansas joined the national opioid settlement with the distributors and Johnson & Johnson in September, setting the stage for the cities and counties to join by January 2, 2022.

Today’s action between the State, cities and counties comes after Attorney General Rutledge announced a historic settlement in July 2021 which will provide needed relief to people across the country who are struggling with opioid addiction. The agreement includes Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen – the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – and Johnson & Johnson, which manufactured and marketed opioids. The settlement will allocate approximately $216 million to be utilized to combat the opioid addiction epidemic at the State, county and city levels. 

Attorney General Rutledge has taken an aggressive approach to protecting Arkansans and combating the epidemic by suing manufacturers Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Endo Pharmaceuticals for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA), public nuisance, unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy, and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act. She had also filed a lawsuit against distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson Corporation and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation for violations of the ADTPA, negligence, creation of a public nuisance and being unjustly enriched by their business practices.