Case updated 3/8/23 at 12:10
Tarrant County accepted more than $2 million in an opioid lawsuit Tuesday — part of a series of massive lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors.
The lawsuits accuse the companies of promote the use of opioids, leads to addiction, overdose and death. Settlements have resulted in billions of dollars in payouts across the country. The companies dispute the allegations.
Overdose deaths are a leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States, and most of these overdose deaths involve opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The latest settlement amount for Tarrant County, totaling $2,218,523.80, comes from a lawsuit against McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, District Attorney spokeswoman Anna Tinsley Williams said in an email.
The county previously received around $510,000 in opioid settlement money.
The state received $1.17 billion from the national settlement with McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, which was the fifth state opioid settlement Texas has secured, according to Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office.
The settlement agreement states that 85% of the settlement money will go to “opioid remediation”, or ways to counteract the harmful effects of opioids in society. The money can go to buy overdose reversal drugs like naloxone, or fund addiction treatment programs.
However, this $2 million pool for Tarrant County does not come with those restrictions, County Judge Tim O’Hare said Tuesday.
“This particular amount of settlement revenue can go into the general fund and be spent on anything,” O’Hare said.
That’s because of the way the money is split between the county and the state, Williams of the DA’s office explained via email. The money dedicated to opioid remediation goes into a state fund that local governments must apply to use.
“The application process is not open and hasn’t even been designed yet,” Williams said.
The roughly 2 million that the county just accepted is not from the state fund, so it can be used without restrictions, she said.
Tarrant County has one more lawsuit against CVS, Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons, according to the DA’s office.
Do you have a tip? Email Miranda Suarez at [email protected]. You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.
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