Counties Sign On to Historic $400 Million Opioid Settlements

The State of Maryland and 58 of its 60 qualifying subdivisions have elected to participate in opioid medication settlement agreements with opioids manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and three major opioids distributors, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health.

Altogether, the settlements are worth approximately $400 million to be paid over the next 18 years. MACo worked alongside the Office of the Attorney General and the Maryland Municipal League (MML) to craft an agreement between the State and local subdivisions creating an equitable division of the settlement funds and encouraging local government participation.

MACo’s Executive Director, Michael Sanderson, praised the Attorney General’s leadership and discussed the anticipated benefits of the settlement agreement in a press release:

“Attorney General Frosh made sure local governments were brought to the table to sort out some issues – and I think that yielded a better final agreement that met the test for so many of our jurisdictions,” said Executive Director Sanderson. “Maryland’s local governments have a lot of work still ahead, this crisis is not behind us, and we have many residents who still need help. These resources will reach every county and help us serve and save even more Marylanders from the terrible problems of opioid abuse.

Attorney General Brian Frosh offered gratitude to the stakeholders who helped craft the subdivision agreement and also touched on how settlement funds will assist Marylanders:

Attorney General Brian E. Frosh
Attorney General Brian E. Frosh

“The settlement will yield hundreds of millions of dollars for Maryland alone, money that the State and its subdivisions can use to remediate the addiction and devastation experienced by families across our State as a result of the opioid crisis,” said Attorney General Frosh. “I want to thank MML and MACo and the staff at the Opioid Operational Command Center and the Governor’s Office who helped bring us to this point.”

The settlement agreements will provide funds for opioid remediation to the State and its subdivisions over 18 years, including an infusion of funds that will become available in the coming months. Accompanying the settlement is a statewide allocation agreement that requires proceeds to be spent on opioid abatement. The agreement, while preserving local autonomy, provides for continued coordination of opioid-related spending throughout the state. The first distribution of proceeds is expected in April of this year.

MACo had appointed the following county officials to a workgroup that helped craft the subdivision agreement:

  • James R. Benjamin, Jr., County Attorney, Baltimore County
  • Hamilton F. Tyler, Deputy County Attorney, Anne Arundel County Office of Law
  • Anthony LaDana, Esq., Assistant County Attorney, Harford County Law Department
  • Stewart Barroll, County Attorney, Caroline County (Cookerly & Barroll, LLC)
  • Randy Guy, Commissioner President, St. Mary’s County
  • Gary Kuc, County Solicitor, Howard County Office of Law
  • Sarah Gross, Chief of Affirmative Litigation Division, Baltimore City Law Department

The workgroup first met in November of 2021 alongside counterparts from MML. Discussions were ongoing with the Attorney General’s Office through late December. Its substantial input is reflected in the final subdivision agreement.

Read the full press release.

Listen to this week’s Conduit Street Podcast, where the MACo policy team breaks down the deal and looks forward to resources to help many Marylanders still in the grips of this crisis.

Read previous Conduit Street coverage of the opioid settlement here.