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Becker county gets $47K, first installment of $1.5 million opioid payment

The settlement with Johnson & Johnson, and other opioid distributors, will bring more than $300 million into Minnesota to fight the opioid crisis – 75 percent of which will go directly to local communities to support treatment, prevention, recovery, harm reduction, and other strategies to address the opioid epidemic, said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Keith Ellison speaks Friday at campaign rally at Denfeld High School in Duluth on July 13. Ellison is running for Minnesota Attorney General. Clint Austin / Forum News Service
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
Clint Austin / Forum News Service
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DETROIT LAKES — The first payment of $47,000 from Minnesota’s successful lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors arrived in Becker County on Monday.

That will be followed by yearly payments of $80,000 or $90,000, Becker County Administrator Pat Oman told the county board on Tuesday. “(Becker County) Public Health is working on a strategy, per the guidelines,” he told commissioners.

In all, Becker County will receive an estimated $1.5 million over 18 years, to be used to fight the opioid crisis, according to a news release from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Over 18 years, Otter Tail County will receive about $1.85 million, Wadena County about $587,000, Todd County about $928,000, Clay County about $2.1 million, Hubbard County about $1 million, and Mahnomen County about $314,000, according to the news release.

In total, the settlement with Johnson & Johnson, and other opioid distributors, will bring more than $300 million into Minnesota to fight the opioid crisis – 75 percent of which will go directly to local communities to support treatment, prevention, recovery, harm reduction, and other strategies to address the opioid epidemic, Ellison said.

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The $6.6 million sent to Minnesota Monday was part of $66 million coming this year, he added.

Ellison said the first payments from the historic, multi-state $26 billion settlements with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and the nation’s three largest opioid distributors — Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen — were sent to Minnesota cities and counties Monday. The settlement payments were distributed throughout the state, following Minnesota’s historic December 2021 agreement between the state and cities and counties that set how the settlement funds will be allocated and used.

Because the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office achieved complete participation from cities and counties in the settlements with distributors and Johnson & Johnson, the payments will be significantly accelerated, Ellison said.

Of the $300 million, 25 percent will go to the State of Minnesota to be overseen and distributed by the Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council .

The $300 million figure does not include additional tens of millions of dollars Minnesota expects to receive from settlements with Purdue , Mallinckrodt , Teva Pharmaceuticals , Allergan , Endo , or McKinsey , all of which will be dedicated to fighting the opioid crisis, Ellison said.

“Opioid settlement dollars are starting to flow to the Minnesota communities that need it most because they’ve been hurt the most,” he added. “No amount of money will ever be enough to make up for the suffering the opioid companies caused, but the historic agreement we reached with every single Minnesota county and more than 140 cities means Minnesota is maximizing the dollars coming to the state to fight the epidemic. I want to thank the cities and counties for partnering with us to combat this crisis, and also thank the legislature for passing on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis the Opioid Settlement Funds Bill I fought for, which allows these funds to start flowing.”

Multiple settlements with opioid companies

In the last two and a half years, Ellison’s office has reached nine settlements with opioid companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Minnesota, including the money from the $300 million settlement with Johnson and Johnson and distributors that started flowing yesterday. These settlements are with the following defendants:

The Attorney General’s opioid webpage includes a list detailing the amount of funds that cities and counties are estimated to receive from the settlements with distributors and Johnson & Johnson. The webpage also offers tools, resources, and other information for local governments and others regarding use of the funds and Attorney General Ellison’s efforts to fight the epidemic in Minnesota.

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