Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
202 North Ninth Street
For media inquiries only, contact:
Charlotte Gomer, Director of Communication
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING’S BILL TO FUND OPIOID TREATMENT AND RECOVERY SIGNED INTO LAW
~ The Governor has signed Herring’s legislation that will help ensure that funds from opioid litigation are used for opioid abuse prevention, treatment and recovery ~
RICHMOND – Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s legislation that directs funds secured through his ongoing lawsuits against drug manufacturers and distributors toward opioid abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery, ensuring that the most money possible goes to actually address the opioid crisis, has been signed into law. House Majority Leader Charniele Herring (HB2322) and Senator George Barker (SB1469) carried Attorney General Herring’s legislation in the House and Senate during the most recent legislative session.
This legislation makes Virginia one of the first states in the nation to have a legislatively enacted framework for directing funds from opioid litigation, like the $13 million Attorney General Herring recently secured through a settlement with McKinsey and Company for its role in “turbocharging” the opioid crisis, towards opioid abatement, treatment, and recovery, instead of diverting it to other uses.
“During my time as attorney general, it has been a top priority of mine to hold those who created, prolonged, and profited off of the opioid crisis accountable for their harmful actions,” said Attorney General Herring. “All across the Commonwealth, lives have been turned upside-down and families and communities have been devastated by the opioid crisis. Should I be successful in taking on these opioid manufacturers and distributors, this authority will ensure that a majority of those funds will go back to the communities that need it to expand treatment and recovery options and save lives. I would like to thank all the partners and advocates who helped make sure this important legislation was passed, especially Majority Leader Herring and Senator Barker.”
“Attorney General Herring has really worked hard to hold those responsible for creating and prolonging the opioid crisis accountable,” said Majority Leader Herring. “This newly created authority is an important part of the Commonwealth’s overall approach to combating the opioid crisis and getting help to the Virginians and communities who really need it. I want to thank Attorney General Herring and all the advocates for their continued dedication to ending the opioid crisis in Virginia.”
“Combating the opioid crisis requires a unique, comprehensive approach and that includes this new authority to handle money that could come from Attorney General Herring’s work to hold these big drug companies accountable for, in many ways, creating this crisis,” said Senator Barker. “Virginia is one of the first states to implement this kind of authority, making us a leader in the larger movement to take on drug manufacturers for creating and profiting off of the opioid crisis. This opioid abatement authority will ensure that judgements or settlements that Attorney General Herring may reach will go back to the communities, where it can go directly towards combating the opioid epidemic.”
SB1469 and HB2322 from Attorney General Herring, Senator Barker, and Majority Leader Herring create a structure and framework for ensuring that “opioid abatement” funds recovered as part of AG Herring’s ongoing lawsuits and investigations against opioid manufacturers and distributors are used to fund opioid abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery. It helps bring order and predictability to the distribution process if funds are secured, rather than forcing the Commonwealth to wait for a potentially significant influx of money, and then having to decide how to handle it.
The bill establishes an Opioid Abatement Authority controlled by subject matter experts who will ensure that funds are used wisely to support prevention, treatment, and recovery. The Board of the Opioid Abatement Authority includes:
- The Secretary of Health & Human Resources or their designee
- Two medical professionals with expertise in public and behavioral health administration or opioid use disorders and their treatment
- A representative of the addiction and recovery community
- An urban or suburban representative from a community services board
- A rural representative from a community services board
- A law enforcement official
- A local government official
- A local government attorney
- Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations or their designee and the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee on Appropriations or their designee
The legislation calls for the abatement funds to be partitioned in the following way:
- 70% for opioid abatement split evenly (35% each) between 1) regional projects and 2) projects identified as effective by the Board of experts.
- 15% reserved for state-identified abatement initiatives
- 15% reserved for locality-identified abatement initiatives
The opioid crisis has been one of Attorney General Herring’s top priorities, and as part of this work he has focused on accountability for pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors who helped create, prolong, and profit from the opioid crisis in Virginia and around the country. Attorney General Herring has filed suit against Purdue Pharma; the Sackler Family, owners of Purdue Pharma; and Teva/Cephalon for the roles that they played in creating the opioid epidemic. Additional multistate investigations and legal actions remain ongoing.
# # #