Every city, town and county in Indiana is now participating in the $507 million opioid settlement with major pharmaceutical distributors and manufacturers, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office announced Wednesday.
The AG’s office reported all 648 political subdivisions in Indiana have joined the settlement, which is part of a roughly $26 billion payout across 46 states by opioid distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen and drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.
This past April, several Indiana cities, including Indianapolis, joined the settlement after previously opting out of the state’s lawsuits against the companies.
In a news release Wednesday, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said the “most significant impediment came from outside attorneys who initially convinced several individual communities to pursue their own litigation rather than opt into the statewide settlement. … And later, once those same private attorneys conceded the best course was to join the statewide settlement, some of them insisted on building into the disbursement plan greater windfalls for themselves.”
All settlement funds will support local law enforcement efforts, drug task forces, regional treatment hubs and early intervention and crisis support, among other programs, according to the attorney general.
The settlement is a 50-50 split between the state and local governments.
Thirty percent of the settlement funds have “no strings attached” and will be split evenly between local communities and the state. Local communities and the state will be able to choose how they will use this money.
The other 70% has been designated for opioid abatement efforts in local communities. Rokita said state leaders can now decide exactly how to allocate half of the 70%, and that the 2022 signing of House Enrolled Act 1193 vastly improved the existing framework that featured too “much state-level bureaucracy.”
Previously, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration acted, according to Rokita, as the “middleman” in distributing funds to local governments.
“Together, we have created an excellent disbursement plan for our opioid settlement,” Rokita said in the news release. “From the very beginning, my own mission was to ensure that our local communities received the maximum funding possible—and that the individual communities also could decide exactly how to use the funds they received.”