Opioid Settlement Planning

Maricopa County received notification of its first payment of approximately $4.7 million from the Distributor portion of the National Settlement in early September 2022. Of this amount, approximately $2.3 million will be distributed to Maricopa County cities and towns using using allocation percentages determined in the One Arizona Distribution of Opioid Settlement Funds Agreement.

Public Health will serve as the Lead Agency for administration of county funds and will be responsible for arranging payments to municipalities. 

In August 2021, Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that 90 cities and towns and all 15 counties signed on to a framework called the One Arizona Memorandum of Understanding (now known as the "One Arizona Agreement") to distribute funds across Arizona from national opioid settlements. 

As part of the $26 billion national settlement agreement, Arizona and its political subdivisions will receive $542 million over 18 years. Maricopa County’s share in the settlement is estimated to be $80 million.

The One Arizona Agreement provides funding for programs to address and ameliorate opioid abuse, and includes reporting requirements for greater transparency of how money is used. As outlined in the Agreement:

  • 56% of the total state settlement goes to local governments for opioid amelioration programs.
  • 44% of the total settlement goes to a State fund for opioid amelioration programs.
  • Funds must be spent in accordance with approved, nationally recognized strategies to pay for future costs incurred by the State and local governments to address the opioid epidemic. Approved uses include expenses related to the treatment of opioid use disorder, support for people in treatment and recovery, support for people who have or are at risk of developing opioid use disorder, and prevention of overuse and misuse of opioids.
  • Transparent reporting requirements for fund usage to ensure compliance with approved purposes.
  • Flexibility for local governments to pool resources to increase the impact of settlement funds.

County Planning

This historic settlement brings an unprecedented opportunity to save lives and reduce harms caused by substance use, especially among communities hardest hit by the opioid epidemic. 

Public Health is currently developing a framework for a countywide substance use prevention and response plan that will be used to help identify strategic priorities and investments needed to achieve desired outcomes.  State and county substance use data, as well as input collected from residents and subject matter experts, will be used to inform recommendations on strategies and spending priorities in alignment with national settlement guidance.  Efforts will be made to work with cities and towns to incorporate resident feedback, maximize coordination of funding strategies, and reduce duplication of work.

More about this process, including how community input will be collected, will be shared publicly and on this webpage as plans are finalized in early fall 2022. 

Currently, there are no funding announcements. Information related to any settlement funding solicitations will be shared publicly as they are made available. In order to receive notification of county solicitations, please register as a vendor with Maricopa County.

About the National Opioid Settlements

On February 25, 2022, manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and the “big three” distributors McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health finalized a $26 billion opioid settlement agreement to resolve their liabilities in over 3,000 opioid crisis-related suits nationwide.

The proposed settlements require that Johnson and Johnson and the distributors pay $26 billion over 18 years, with approximately $22.7 billion available to state and local governments to address the opioid epidemic.

The settlement comes as a result of investigations by state attorneys general into whether the three distributors fulfilled their legal duty to refuse to ship opioids to pharmacies that submitted suspicious drug orders and whether Johnson & Johnson misled patients and doctors about the addictive nature of opioid drugs.

In addition to the funds, Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen will:

  • Establish a centralized independent clearinghouse to provide all three distributors and state regulators with aggregated data and analytics about where drugs are going and how often, eliminating blind spots in the current systems used by distributors.
  • Use data-driven systems to detect suspicious opioid orders from customer pharmacies.
  • Terminate customer pharmacies’ ability to receive shipments, and report those companies to state regulators, when they show certain signs of diversion.
  • Prohibit shipping of and report suspicious opioid orders.
  • Prohibit sales staff from influencing decisions related to identifying suspicious opioid orders.
  • Require senior corporate officials to engage in regular oversight of anti-diversion efforts.

Johnson & Johnson is required to:

  • Stop selling opioids.
  • Not fund or provide grants to third parties for promoting opioids.
  • Not lobby on activities related to opioids.
  • Share clinical trial data under the Yale University Open Data Access Project.

Fifty-two states and territories have signed on to the settlement, as well as thousands of local governments across the country. This is the second-largest multistate agreement in U.S. history, second only to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

More information: https://nationalopioidsettlement.com/


Contact Us

Shilpika Devarachetty
Substance Use Strategic Initiatives Project Manager
substanceuse@maricopa.gov