Okla. Att. Gen. O’Connor speaks on how opioid settlement funds from pharmacy giants will be used

Three retailers, Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, and manufacturer Allergan are paying up to the state of Oklahoma.

“Combined, that will bring in $258 million to Oklahoma,” said Attorney General John O’Connor.

So, where does it all go?

“That is the biggest question. We have worked hard for nine years and brought in over $900 million,” Said O’Connor. “That’s an eye-popping sum of money.”

FOX23 Spoke with Attorney General John O’Connor on Thursday and he said the money goes to Oklahomans.

“There is an initial division. The money is going to the state of Oklahoma and that money will be partly for the cities and counties that did not hire lawyers, and then the rest of it will be distributed by the state legislation,” O’Connor said.

Wednesday, FOX23 spoke with Grace Ballard who owns Foundations Behavioral Health. Ballard, who works with addicts every day, feels the money should be used to help treat addiction.

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

FOX23 asked the attorney general if each community will be held accountable for how it spends the funds it receives.

“That is the fear, but according to the settlement agreement, 85 percent of every dollar is supposed to go to abatement, which means reducing the problem, or treatment or prevention,” he said.

O’Connor hopes it will support new research to treat pain.

“Right now, at the Oklahoma state university medical school they have a center that is very effective, and they are working on developing a non-opioid pain killer,” he said.