Opioid Crisis

AG Rutledge announces $216 million allocation of opioid settlement money with cities, counties

By Talk Business Staff
Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced Thursday (Oct. 7) that Arkansas’ allocation of a $216 million opioid settlement will be split evenly between cities, counties and the state.

A signed Arkansas Opioids Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) clarifies the settlement being paid by opioid manufacturers and distributors.

“By bringing the cities, counties and state together, all Arkansas communities will have access to funds for the prevention, education, and treatment of opioid use,” said Rutledge. “Far too many Arkansans have felt the impact of the opioid epidemic. Our MOU will help save lives through education and treatment of those battling addiction across Arkansas.”

The MOU breaks down the allocation of funds for each party. The state of Arkansas will repay any Medicaid funds from its allocated share and counsel for the state will be paid by the state.

Arkansas joined the national opioid settlement with the distributors and Johnson & Johnson in September, setting the stage for the cities and counties to join by January 2, 2022. The settlement agreement includes Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen – the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors – and Johnson & Johnson, which manufactured and marketed opioids.


Plaintiffs' Omnibus Response to Defendants' Motions filed on Aug. 30, 2018.

Second Amended Complaint filed on April 2, 2018 in Crittenden County Circuit Court.

News Release announcing March 21, 2018 press conference.

News Release announcing April 6, 2018 Arkansas Supreme Court decision.

Watch video from the news conference announcing the lawsuit.

Opioid news conference photos.

Media Coverage of Arkansas Opioid Litigation

DEA: Annual drug take-back effort collects nearly 420 tons in US, more than 14 tons in Arkansas – May, 2021

State aims to tackle addiction in the courtroom – Arkansas Money & Politics

One state's novel idea to make Big Pharma pay for opioid epidemic — CNN

Attorney: Governments seeking to recover 'probably...billions' from opioid companies – Talk Business & Politics

Opioid Crisis: Is Arkansas Paving the way for big pharma, not taxpayers, to pay for addiction? — Newsweek Online

Arkansas cities, counties sue drug makers over opioid crisis — Associated Press

Other Media Coverage

Opioid-makers gushed dollars to Arkansas doctors — Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Bitter Pill — Arkansas Times

Opioid crisis affects all Americans, rural and urban — U.S. Department of Agriculture

The opioid epidemic: A crisis years in the making — The New York Times

Opioid Resources

A Prescription for Action: Local Leadership in Ending the Opioid Crisis

This joint report from National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National League of Cities (NLC) examines how cities and counties can strengthen collaboration with each other and state, federal, private-sector and non-profit partners to tackle the opioid crisis. Several of the recommendations are accompanied by existing local practices from cities and counties. The report also includes recommendations for state and federal officials, who are pivotal partners in local efforts to combat opioid misuse, diversion, overdose and death.

Arkansas Drug Takeback

Arkansas Department of Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Association of Counties

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Rainwater, Hold & Sexton Injury Lawyers 800-434-4800

Guardian Pro RFID and AAC Risk Management Fund mitigate risks for Arkansas jails