OK Attorney General: Oklahoma to receive $200M more funds in opioid lawsuit settlements

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor announced Wednesday that Oklahoma is getting more than $200 million more in funds from lawsuits filed against Walgreens, Walmart, CVS and Allergan.

In this statement O’Connor explained how much each company is paying:

“Oklahoma will recover $226.1 million from these new settlements, including up to $79.5 million from Walgreens, $73 million from CVS, $41 million from Walmart, and $32.6 million from Allergan, an opioid manufacturer.”

“Between 2016 and 2020, more than 3,000 Oklahomans died from opioid overdoses. These recent settlements bring Oklahoma’s total recoveries from opioid manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to almost $1 billion. As with prior opioid settlement funds, Oklahoma’s recoveries must be used to abate and treat opioid addictions and to save lives across our state.”

At Foundations Behavioral Health Grace Ballard sees people struggling with mental health and addiction every day.

“If a person has a mental illness and it is not managed well then they are self-medicating with drugs,” Ballard said.

It’s something Dr. Stephanie Wrightsman with Axis Health at the Tulsa Hills Clinic also deals with. She said she sees patients on a day-to-day basis.

“Yesterday, I saw 24,” Wrightsman said.

Both Ballard and Wrightsman say Oklahoma needs more places for addicts to detox, then recover.

“There are definitely not enough detox centers,” Wrightsman said.

They say the settlement funds are an opportunity.

“The best way to use money like this is after care and treatment families,” Ballard said.

Wrightsman added, “Definitely, most patients who come in here do not have insurance we need to have facilities that will find the patient from detox until discharge and then have an outpatient program set up because they need structure.”

She says sometimes when they can’t get care after detox they go back to drugs.

Wrightsman said, “They will go out and use the same dose they were used to and die, they will overdose.”

The attorney general’s office says the money will go to help people recover and those impacted by the opioid crisis.

Ballard hopes it will go to treatment.

“So, treatment facilities that are outpatient like here and grand lake for when people come out and more inpatient and detox facilities, there are not enough,” Ballard explained.