With the addition of Monday’s $572 million judgment against Johnson & Johnson to Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s earlier settlements with Purdue and Teva, the state’s legal campaign against the opioid industry has accumulated nearly $1 billion. This large and growing sum is raising serious questions over how much money is actually getting to opioid victims.
As reported by the Associated Press and published in The Washington Post, some have been highly critical of the distribution of this settlement money so far. Ryan Hampton, a recovered opioid addict and author of American Fix: Inside the Opioid Addiction Crisis – and How to End It, finds Oklahoma’s March settlement with Purdue to be especially problematic. Referring to the fact that the bulk of that $270 million settlement was earmarked for research, Hampton remarked “I’m all for research, but spending such a large proportion of money on research at this point when we have people who are literally dying on street corners in Oklahoma because they can’t access services? That is a crime in itself.”