Ige and the mayors of Hawaii’s counties today announced that an Advisory Committee, including all four major counties, will determine the recommended uses for $78 million in opioid settlement funds.
The funding is part of nationwide settlements totaling $26 billion to resolve lawsuits against the three largest drug distributors and one of the largest drug manufacturers.
Hawaii’s portion of these settlements was determined by a formula that takes into account the population and impact of the opioid crisis in the State. The $78 million includes approximately $63 million over 18 years from the settlement with the three major distributors and $15 million over nine years from the Johnson and Johnson settlement.
The State and each one of our counties have agreed to use 85% of the funds for opioid treatment, prevention, and education, as well as other abatement measures and strategies. The other 15% will be used for treatment, prevention, and education for other substances.
The State and counties have signed a Memorandum of Agreement that will facilitate compliance with the national settlement agreements. Under this agreement, 85% of the opioid settlement funds will be spent in consultation with the Advisory Committee composed of equal numbers of state and county representatives. Each year, at least 15% of the total will be spent at the local level, and each county will determine how its respective share is spent.
“Too many of us know childr`en, spouses, neighbors, or colleagues who are suffering every day from the impacts of drug addiction and misuse,” said Gov. David Ige. “I want to thank our mayors and our community, healthcare and government stakeholders who have come together to help the people of Hawaiʻi. Our efforts will be successful because all stakeholders are working closely together to achieve success.”
“We are grateful to Gov. Ige, the Attorney General’s office, our county attorneys, our healthcare providers, and our entire community for holding these major pharmaceutical companies accountable and coming together to find a path forward in response to Hawaii’s opioid crisis, said Kauaʻi Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami. “This resolution will directly benefit each of our communities across the state, touching the lives of our families, friends, and loved ones. Addiction is a lifelong struggle, one that must be conquered daily. But today’s announcement gives families hope that help is coming, and more will be done to prevent others from facing the devastating impacts of opioids and other prevalent drugs.”
“The opioid crisis in our state is very real and has ruined the lives of thousands of people,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “This settlement is a major step forward in helping those who battle addiction on a daily basis and will be instrumental in preventing the tragic impacts of opioid misuse. We hear these stories of addiction and overdose far too often – enough is enough. I’m proud to join the Governor and the other county mayors as we work collaboratively to protect our communities.”
“Opiate overdoses are preventable tragedies that devastate families, friends and the community at large,” said Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino. “The $78 million settlement will fund treatment for opioid addiction while helping to prevent future addiction problems through education. Gov. Ige worked very closely with the county mayors to battle COVID-19, and we are working together to solve the opiate addiction crisis, too. The health and well-being of Maui County residents is always my top priority, and this settlement will help to make our community safer and healthier.”
“Thanks to this collective statewide effort spearheaded by Gov. Ige and our healthcare providers, our counties will each be able to receive much-needed resources to combat the opioid crisis that we see island-to-island, community-to-community,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth. “Many of our first responders and local non-profit organizations have been working in the trenches to keep our families safe and free from the adverse effects of opioids and other illicit substances, and now we can look to amplify their efforts through this settlement. The work that our Corporation Counsels and State Attorney General’s Office have put in to ensure that we hold pharmaceutical companies accountable to our local communities cannot go understated, and we mahalo them for their dedication and commitment to justice.”
Other anticipated settlements with major drug makers will contribute millions more to the State and counties’ abatement efforts. In addition, cases against and investigations into other opioid actors are ongoing, and Hawaiʻi could see millions more when these are concluded.