SEATTLE, Wash., September 9, 2023—Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced on Wednesday, September 7, that more than $60 million to combat the fentanyl epidemic will soon be coming to Washington counties and cities. These resources are a result of Ferguson’s investigation into Walmart for its role fueling the opioid epidemic as a pharmacy. All eligible local governments signed onto the Attorney General’s $62.6 million resolution. The resources will be split equally between the state and local jurisdictions across the state.
This resolution is part of the $1.1 billion the Attorney General’s Office has recovered from 11 companies that fueled the opioid epidemic. Under the terms of the legally binding resolution, these resources must be used to combat the opioid epidemic, including fentanyl. Washingtonians can use this chart to see what their local government will receive to combat the opioid epidemic. The chart includes the additional Walmart funding, 97% of which it will pay in the next few months. The Legislature determines how to spend the state’s allocation of these resources.
The Attorney General’s Office has upcoming trials against one opioid manufacturer and multiple pharmacies that helped fuel the epidemic.
“This is real money that funds real resources that will save lives,” Ferguson said. “But I am not done here. My office still litigates active cases, which we will use to hold all companies that fueled the opioid epidemic accountable. My team is working to bring even more money and resources back to affected Washington communities.”
Since all of the eligible local governments signed onto the resolution with Walmart, Washington is guaranteed the maximum amount of $62.6 million. The local governments are dividing their share of the proceeds using the same formula as the earlier opioid distributor resolution.
Half of the money from the Walmart resolution will be paid to eligible Washington cities and counties, with the first payment to be made in the next few months. The remainder of the money goes to the state. All of this money must be used to fund opioid remediation.
A full, updated list of what counties and cities will receive from all the finalized resolutions so far is available. The top five counties, including their local governments, are: King County, $112.5 million; Pierce County, $52 million; Snohomish County, $51 million; Spokane County, $38.3 million; and Clark County, $29.3 million. To date, the City of Everett is expected to receive $8.3 million, with Lynnwood at $3.3 million, and Marysville at $1.7 million rounding up the top three cities receiving resolutions within Snohomish County.
|Bothell (King and SnoCo)||$1,147,300|
|Snohomish County total||$51,091,695|
As part of its resolution, Walmart will tightly monitor opioid prescriptions and prevent patients from seeking multiple prescriptions.
Washington state’s money comes from an overall $3.1 billion multistate resolution with Walmart.
Support already flowing to Washington
In October 2022, all 125 eligible local governments signed onto a $518 million resolution stemming from Ferguson’s earlier lawsuits against opioid distributors. The state received its first two payments of $82 million from the three largest opioid distributors. The more recent resolutions with the pharmacies and manufacturers will augment future payments. These five new resolutions will lead to payments of approximately $45 million to the state in the next few months.
Local governments will determine how to spend their share.
The resolution with Teva, one of the opioid manufacturers, will bring in naloxone kits that state agencies will distribute statewide. In 2024 and 2025, Washington state will receive a total of 54,120 naloxone kits, with each kit containing two nasal spray devices. Naloxone is a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose.
The Legislature will determine how the state share is allocated in communities around the state. In the 2023 legislative session, the Legislature allocated $64.1 million from the opioid payments. Examples of legislative support included:
- $18,168,000 for prevention, treatment and recovery support services to address and remediate the opioid epidemic.
- $15,447,000 to tribes and urban Indian health programs for opioid and overdose response activities.
- $5,000,000 for the Department of Health to expand the distribution of naloxone through overdose education and a distribution program.
- $4,000,000 for the authority to provide short-term housing vouchers for individuals with substance use disorders.
All spending decisions must be consistent with the state Opioid Response Plan. Recoveries can be used to address the Fentanyl epidemic.
Approved strategies include:
- Improving and expanding treatment for opioid use disorder.
- Supporting individuals in treatment and recovery, including providing comprehensive wrap-around services to individuals with opioid use disorder, including housing, transportation, education, job placement, job training or childcare.
- Addressing the needs of pregnant women and their families, including those with babies with neonatal disorder.
- Preventing opioid misuse, overprescribing and overdoses through, among other strategies, school-based and youth-focused programs, public education campaigns, increased availability and distribution of naloxone and other drugs that treat overdoses, additional training and enhancements to the prescription drug monitoring program.
- Supporting first responders.
SOURCE: Office of the Washington State Attorney General