Spotlight: Opioid Abuse

Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

Opioid abuse in Oregon is not limited to just street drugs like heroin, or prescription drugs. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, is a new threat–and unfortunately no Oregon community has been spared from its dark reality.

Despite some progress in reducing opioid misuse and overdose, many challenges remain.  The Oregon Health Authority now estimates » that five Oregonians die every week from opioid related overdoses. In 2021, 548 Oregonians died from unintentional opioid overdoses, up from 462 deaths in 2020.

Attorney General Rosenblum and the Oregon Department of Justice have led the way in holding those who are responsible for the opioid crisis accountable. For over 15 years, DOJ’s legal team has been a leader in major multi-state litigation and settlements that involve the pharmaceutical industry.

Oregon’s Monumental 2022 Opioid Settlements

In 2022 alone, the Oregon Department of Justice signed onto eight multi-state agreements with companies that either distributed, produced, or sold opioids. Oregon is expected to receive $701.5 million from these settlements to fund opioid abatement and recovery, with the money going directly to Oregon counties, cities, and other programs designed for treatment, recovery, and prevention services.

Pharmaceutical Companies:

Allergan/Teva Pharmaceuticals: Oregon will receive $99.4 million of the $6.6 billion national settlement ($69.8 million from Teva and $29.6 million from Allergan). The national settlements resolve allegations that Allergan/Teva illegally marketed their opioids and failed to maintain effective diversion controls.

Janssen (subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson): Oregon will receive $66 million over 10 years, out of the $5 billion national settlement for Janssen’s deceptive promotion of opioids that helped fuel the opioid crisis. Oregon should receive the first installment of $13.7 million in January, with another $32 million due by February 2023.

Read press release: Oregon Total for Opioid Settlement Payments Jumps from $25 Million to $71 Million, Thanks to Agreements with 22 Oregon Special Districts

Purdue Pharma: In 2007, Oregon and 25 other states settled the first multi-state lawsuit with Purdue Pharma. In 2018, Oregon again sued Purdue for violating the 2007 agreement, deceptively marketing OxyContin to Oregon seniors and misrepresenting the risks of the drug. In May 2019, Oregon became one of the first states to sue the owners of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family.

In March 2022, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced a major settlement with Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family that will deliver up to $6 billion nationally for their role in the opioid epidemic. Oregon will get up to $97 million out of a $6 billion national settlement, pending final court approval. This includes an extra $34 million that Oregon will receive as one of nine states that objected to the original bankruptcy plan, $56 million from the original bankruptcy plan, and up to an additional $7 million depending upon the sale of certain assets.

Read press release: Oregon Secures $426 Million in Two Historic Opioid Settlements


Walmart, CVS and Walgreens:

In November and December 2022, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced national settlements with Walmart, CVS and Walgreens for their role in fueling the opioid epidemic.

The Walmart settlement will provide more than $3 billion nationally and will require improvements in how Walmart’s pharmacies handle opioids. Under a separate agreement with CVS and Walgreens, CVS will pay $5 billion and Walgreens will pay $5.7 billion nationally.

Read press release: Attorney General Rosenblum Announces $3.1 Billion Settlement with Walmart over Opioid Epidemic Allegations

Read press release: Attorney General Rosenblum Announces $10.7 Billion National Opioid-related Settlements with CVS and Walgreens


Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen: For their extensive role in fueling the opioid crisis, these three largest opioid distributors agreed to a $21 billion national settlement. Oregon has already received $25 million of its $270 million share, which will be paid over 18 years.

Read press release: Oregon Receives First Payment from Historic Opioid Settlements

Previous Opioid-Related Settlements and Pending Litigation:

Endo International

In 2016, Oregon opened an investigation into Endo International, a pharmaceutical company that sold Opana, an extended-release opioid like OxyContin. Oregon sued Endo for aggressively promoting the dangerous drug, which is no longer on the market. In 2022, Endo filed for bankruptcy and against the Attorney General’s objection. Oregon’s lawsuit has been put on hold.

Read press release: Oregon Sues Opioid Manufacturer Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc.

McKinsey & Company

Oregon was also a leader in the multi-state group that settled with McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s largest consulting firms, for its role assisting opioid manufacturers in promoting opioids. In February 2021, the group, including Oregon, settled for $573 million, with Oregon receiving almost $8 million, which was deposited into the Measure 110 account to fund substance use disorder services.

Read press release: AG Rosenblum Announces $573 Million National Settlement Against McKinsey & Company for “Turbocharging” the Opioid Epidemic; Oregon’s Share is $7.8 million

Insys Theraputics

In 2015, Oregon was the first state to investigate and settle with Insys Theraputics for its unlawful promotion of Subsys, a powerful narcotic fentanyl that is typically only used for end-stage cancer pain. Oregon settled with the company for $1.1 million, with the money going to increase the availability of naloxone (used to reverse overdose), treat opioid use disorder, and train prescribers to decrease prescribing of prescription opioids.

Read press release: AG Rosenblum Settles with Pharmaceutical Company Insys over Unlawful Promotion of the Powerful Opioid Subsys®

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