Millions of dollars to help Montana deal with problems caused by opioids is coming from a recent settlement with three major pharmaceutical distributors. It is the second largest multi-state agreement in U.S. history. The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement was larger.

According to a news release, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen was one of 48 State Attorneys General in the U.S. who received final approval of a settlement involving Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson & Johnson for the companies' roles in the harm caused by the national opioid epidemic.

Montana will get $80 million, Knudsen said, and the money will be used for measures dealing with opioid abatement in Montana. The initial programs will be dealing with opioid use disorder treatment, providing Narcan to emergency first responders and funding drug treatment courts. The money will go to all 56 counties and the cities of Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Missoula, Helena and Kalispell.

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Nationally, starting April 2, 2022, $26 billion will be made available and will be distributed in the second quarter to 52 States and territories. Johnson & Johnson is required to stop selling opioids, not lobby on activities related to opioids and share clinical trial data with an "open data" access project. The distributors will use systems to detect suspicious opioid orders, along with other measures to stop suspicious opioid orders.

Knudsen, in a news release, said, "Opioid overdoses have killed hundreds of Montanans and thousands more struggle with addiction. The millions of dollars we secured in this settlement will help us save lives and treat those who need help."

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