City of Port Arthur expected to join settlement from opioid manufacturers

Published 12:26 am Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The City of Port Arthur this week is expected to join a growing list of Texas communities seeking reimbursement from a multi-state program regarding the “fraudulent and/or reckless marketing and/or distribution of opioids that have resulted in additions and overdoses.”

The movement is part of a multi-billion dollar settlement between several states and opioid manufacturers Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKeeson, according to information from the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Under the agreement that was reached in July 2021, Texas will receive $1.17 billion from distributors and $268 million from Johnson & Johnson.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control, national drug overdose deaths rose to a record high of 93,000. Texas alone has seen a 31.9 percent increase in overdose deaths, primarily through opioids.

In a resolution that will be presented to Port Arthur City Council, the city says said “actions, conduct and misconduct have resulted in significant financial costs to the City of Port Arthur.”

The resolution is required in order to join the list of communities eligible for reimbursement, according to Paxton’s office.

Once funds are received, their available use includes but is not limited to: Training for first responders, schools, community groups and families; help with those who are uninsured; providing education and youth-focused programs that “discourage or prevent misuse;” provide treatment and recovery support services; media campaigns aimed at preventing opioid; and funding for community drug disposal programs.

Currently more than 60 Texas cities and counties have signed on for the reimbursement program. The deadline to do so is January 2022.