Kitsap County and its municipalities are set to receive $7.6 million over the next 17 years as part of a $518 million state settlement with three companies found to have played key roles in fueling the opioid epidemic in Washington.
The three drug companies are McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp, a news release from state Attorney General Bob Ferguson says. Kitsap is eligible to receive about $5.6 million in the settlement, followed by Bremerton at about $1.3 million, Bainbridge Island about $293,00, Port Orchard about $217,000 and Poulsbo about $166,000.
After rejecting a national settlement, Ferguson went to trial against the three companies in King County Superior Court in November of last year. The trial lasted six months and led to a resolution requiring the three companies to pay $518 million — $46 million more than Washington would have received under the national settlement.
Ferguson is directing the additional $46 million be used to provide substance abuse treatment and support other strategies to address the opioid crisis, including housing and other wrap-around services, the release states.
All 125 jurisdictions joined the resolution, ensuring that the maximum recovery would come to Washington. Local governments will receive a total of $215 million, divided per an agreement negotiated among themselves. The state will also receive $215 million to fund opioid remediation, plus the additional $46 million Ferguson is directing to that purpose.
In all, more than $476 million will be directed to addressing the opioid epidemic in Washington, paid over 17 years.
The first payments will begin Dec. 1, about $55 million. The resources will support improved and expanded treatment options, youth-focused prevention strategies, support for first responders and other evidence-based programs and services that will help communities heal, per the release.
“This is a major milestone — one of the largest resolutions in Washington state history — but we’re not done fighting back against the opioid epidemic,” Ferguson said. “This represents significant accountability for the opioid distributors that helped fuel the epidemic, as well as urgently needed resources to fight it. The crisis is far from over. Our fight to hold these mega-corporations accountable will continue.”