In Florida, before the isolation, stress and fear from the pandemic struck, the number of drug overdoses had more than doubled since 2014 with nearly 70 percent of the drug overdose deaths occurring from opioid use according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This crisis is widely expected to have only worsened since then.
Today, it was announced over $4 billion dollars will be made available to the states, including Florida, for opioid abatement efforts as part of a bankruptcy settlement case.
Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office served on the Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Ad Hoc Committee—an 18-member committee consisting of states, counties, cities and territories—that led negotiations and discovery on behalf of the thousands of communities across the country impacted by the opioid crisis.
Through Moody’s efforts additional funding for Florida communities plagued by the national opioid crisis has been secured. State and local governments, nationwide, are projected to receive more than $4.275 billion under the proposed bankruptcy plan.
According to Moody’s office, this filing represents a significant step toward providing crucial recovery resources for those damaged by the opioid crisis that has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The states will collectively continue negotiating with the debtor to finalize terms that are most beneficial for all states and their local communities to maximize the needed abatement funds. Generally speaking, the monies will have to be spent on intervention, treatment, recovery and education related services to those suffering from opioid use disorder.
Purdue Pharma filed its bankruptcy plan worth approximately $7 billion that will place the full value of the company into a trust set up to allocate the funds toward opioid abatement efforts nationwide. More than $4.275 billion of the $7 billion represented in the plan will come from the Sackler family, who will also lose their entire stake in the company as part of the terms—effectively removing them from any involvement in U.S. opioid sales, according to a press release from Moody’s office.
Moody said, “As we continue to fight the pervasive opioid epidemic, I am pleased to announce that we have secured additional monies—now more than $4 billion—to help fund critical resources for communities struggling from this devastation. Although we cannot reverse the damage that this epidemic has inflicted, these life-saving funds will now be available early next year, and strict measures are now in place going forward to prevent the insidious and harmful marketing of opioids.”
The plan is under consideration before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York with Judge Robert Drain presiding. Purdue Pharma’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding is separate from ongoing federal and state opioid litigation.