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Governor Walz Signs Opioid Response Bill Into Law

Legislation allocates funding the state received in last year’s $300 million settlement with opioid manufacturers

5/11/2022 1:28:15 PM

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz has signed a bill providing $300 million to address the state’s opioid crisis into law. The legislation ensures that Minnesota’s share of a multi-state settlement will be used efficiently and effectively by communities across the state in areas like education, treatment, prevention, and recovery strategies.

“The faster we can get these resources into the hands of our communities, the better,” said Governor Walz. “This legislation allows us to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the devastation they’ve caused for families across the state, while expanding the systems that work and investing in new strategies to help communities address the crisis.”

“This is a very important step in taking action against the opioid crisis in Minnesota,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “At a time when the opioid crisis continues to escalate, this additional support will help communities around the state now and into the future. While there is more work to be done, these long-term, stable investments and sound actions signed into law today are pivotal in making sure Minnesota is equipped with the tools to support people living with addiction. I’m grateful for the partners in this work.”

In February 2022, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced a multi-state $26 billion agreement with major opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, and the three major pharmaceutical distributors: Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen. Minnesota’s share of this agreement was $300 million over the next 18 years. Each state’s share of the takes into consideration the impact of the crisis on the state – the number of overdose deaths, the number of residents with substance use disorder, and the number of opioids prescribed – and the population of the state.

What Minnesotans Are Saying

“No amount of money can ever make up for the death and destruction the opioid companies caused families and communities in Minnesota and across the country. We must never forget that more than 5,000 Minnesotans have lost their lives to the opioid crisis: these are losses we can never restore,” said Attorney General Keith Ellison. “I have been laser-focused on holding opioid companies accountable for their wreckage, and I am very proud that this historic and momentous law will finally let us unleash the power of these settlements that my office has won for the people of Minnesota. There is no doubt in my mind this law will save lives. Finally, I thank the brilliant public servants of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office who are the unsung heroes of this historic step forward. They have dedicated thousands of hours since Minnesota began investigating these companies six years ago into holding these companies accountable. Their dogged, tireless work has benefitted not only the people of Minnesota but Americans everywhere.”

“The opioid crisis continues to get worse, with communities across the state continuing to face heartbreak and tragedy as a result of addiction and overdoses,” said Rep. Liz Olson (DFL – Duluth). “Minnesota’s share of the settlement will enable vital education, treatment, and prevention strategies, and I’m grateful to everyone who played a role in getting this bill to the finish line so we can quickly put this funding to use and save lives.”

“When we passed our groundbreaking opioid bill of 2019, we knew of pending litigation but were uncertain of the mechanics of how those funds would arrive in Minnesota,” said Senator Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont), a longtime advocate for victims of opioid addiction in the Senate. “This bill will guarantee that communities can receive those funds as soon as possible. The opioid crisis devastated families across Minnesota,” Rosen added. “The historic settlement agreement with opiate manufacturers will never undo the damage they caused, but it will help those families and our communities recover – and, hopefully, help us avoid a crisis like that ever again. The faster we can get these resources out the door, the better it will be for everybody.”

“As Chair of the Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council (OERAC) I am very proud of the overwhelming bipartisan support by lawmakers in passing the recent Opioid Settlement bill that ensures the money received by Minnesota will be sent quickly to local Counties and the State to insure we help local communities get relief,” said Rep. Dave Baker (R-Willmar), chair of the Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council. “Being involved in the last 7 months of negotiating with Counties and Cities we accomplished a real sense of cooperation to address the crisis still killing people every day with synthetic opioids. OERAC’s 19-member council is proud to have played a role in updating state laws that ensures communities get relief to our citizens. Seeing all 87 Counties and large cities agreeing to the resolution shows a real level of trust and determination to work together like rarely seen,” Baker added. “I also want to thank the Attorney General’s office and their detailed work to keep our work very focused to maximize the settlement agreements.”

“I am grateful for the hard work in negotiating the Minnesota settlement by the Governor’s Office, the Attorney General’s office, and the bipartisan legislator’s group involved,” said Senator Chris Eaton (DFL-Brooklyn Center). “This is the outcome we all wanted, and I am anticipating an abundance of good work coming from the local level to combat this opioid epidemic.”

“This bi-partisan legislation activates the historic opioid agreement between counties, cities, and the state of Minnesota. At the county level, the opioid settlement funds will be invested in public health, human services, and public safety initiatives that address the opioid epidemic and work towards preventing the impact of addiction in the future,” said Julie Ring, Executive Director of the Association of Minnesota Counties. “Counties look forward to working with the Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Committee and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Opioids, Substance Use, and Addiction to ensure the dollars have a meaningful impact for communities, individuals, families, and children.”

“The passage of the recent opioid settlement legislation is an important milestone in the continuing battle against this epidemic and its devastating impacts on Minnesota cities. The League of Minnesota Cities and its members showed up strong in joining with counties, townships, and the state on the extensive and collaborative work needed to maximize the amount of national settlement money coming to Minnesota,” said Patricia Beety, General Counsel, League of Minnesota Cities. “The state-local government teamwork continued in efforts to pass this legislation which will now make effective the final terms of the state-subdivision allocation agreement. As a result, communities across Minnesota will soon have more direct resources to fight this epidemic, including increased abatement programs and services.”

"The opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on families and communities throughout Greater Minnesota. Although no amount of money can make up for the loss of life, the funding from these national settlement agreements will help our communities provide services and resources to address this crisis,” said Luverne Mayor and CGMC President Pat Baustian. “Passing this legislation is an important step in helping the state combat the harm that has been caused by the opioid crisis. We appreciate the efforts of the Legislature, Governor Walz, and other stakeholders in negotiating, passing, and signing this important legislation."

Seventy five percent of these funds will go to local governments and 25 percent will go to the state.

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