Attorney General William Tong (Nicole McIsaac / ctnewsjunkie photo) Credit: Nicole McIsaac / CTNewsJunkie

HARTFORD, CT – Connecticut will receive $300 million early next year as part of a $26 billion multistate agreement with drug companies seeking to resolve opioid lawsuits, Attorney General William Tong announced Wednesday. 

“This settlement—among the largest in U.S. history—brings billions of dollars back into our communities to begin to heal the devastation of the opioid epidemic,” Tong said. “These negotiations have unfolded over many months, and Connecticut fought hard at every turn to secure the maximum amount of justice and accountability.”

The three major pharmaceutical distributors Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen will collectively pay $21 billion over the course of 18 years, in addition to manufacturer Johnson & Johnson funding $5 billion throughout nine years with up to $3.7 billion during the first three years.

“It’s striking to me that over 90 percent of the opioid overdose fatalities in this world happen in the United States of America,” Gov. Ned Lamont said during a press conference outside his Capitol office. “That’s why we are holding these distributors accountable.” 

Each state’s share was determined by the impact of the crisis on the state, including the number of overdose deaths, the number of residents with substance use disorders, and the number of opioids prescribed, as well as the overall population. 

“Bringing so many parties together to resolve such a singular crisis facing all of us here in this country took the work of really everybody involved and it’s a real testament to the ability of the states, even in this polarized climate, to work together,” Tong said.

But he said it’s not about the money. 

“It’s about walking side by side with these families, with the people that struggle. Not just today, but for everyday here after and to do everything we can to stop people from falling into addiction and to be there for them,” Tong said. 

Paige Niver, a mother of a recovered opioid user, emphasized the advancements the funding will do for individuals struggling with addiction. 

“After she had the problem, the only thing that hurt saving her was good sound care made her for where she is today,” Niver said. “I’m really glad that the money’s going to go to people who are sick and still suffering because that treatment saved my daughter’s life.” 

Until then, families of opioid users across the state are left waiting for definitive details on the agreement and stuck for over a year until funding starts rolling in.