In a new story from The Washington Post, hundreds of federally-recognized Native American tribes have agreed to a settlement with Johnson & Johnson and three other major drug distributors, and will receive $665 million in damages to compensate for tribal devastation from the opioid epidemic.

From the story: “McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen would pay $515 million over seven years and Johnson & Johnson would contribute $150 million in two years to the federally recognized tribes, resolving litigation in dozens of states with tribal reservations, according to documents filed Tuesday in federal court in Cleveland. The tribes claim they were saturated by highly addictive painkillers manufactured by J&J and shipped by the distributors without regard for the clear signs of abuse and death. The companies deny wrongdoing, saying they complied with federal drug laws. The funds would be directed to addiction treatment and prevention programs.

The deal, similar to terms reached by the companies with states, counties and cities for $26 billion, also marks a first for Native American tribes that are often relegated to the sidelines in mass tort litigation, such as in the Big Tobacco litigation of the 1990s.”

With Native Americans statistically more likely to die from an opioid overdose, 50% more according to WaPo, the settlement money will be used to fund drug treatment programs and tribal government efforts to curb opioid use.

To red the rest of the story, click here.

SOURCE: The Rural Blog, The Washington Post