A Win For Transparency: See How Opioid Settlement Payouts Were Dispersed To Local Governments

A Win for Transparency: See How Opioid Settlement Payouts Were Dispersed to Local Governments

You’ve seen the headlines: after years of legal efforts across the country, companies who manufactured or sold opioid painkillers–including Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, and Walmart–have settled for more than $50 billion, to be paid out over 20 years.

We now know how these payouts were distributed to state and local governments. In a win for transparency, KFF Health News released more than 200 documents revealing how funds were used in the first three years of payouts. 

This public disclosure fosters accountability and a greater understanding of the first steps taken to address the devastating impact of opioid addiction.

Why Transparency Matters

By having access to this information, the public gains insight into the scale of the opioid settlement payouts. It allows for a clearer understanding of how these funds are being distributed and utilized, instilling confidence that the allocated resources are being directed towards meaningful solutions in the communities most affected by opioid addiction.

Furthermore, the availability of this data serves as a benchmark for assessing the progress made in addressing the opioid crisis. Local governments can now track their respective allocations and evaluate the impact of their initiatives in reducing opioid-related harm.

This feedback loop enables policymakers and stakeholders to make informed, data-driven decisions and allocate resources more effectively, fostering a comprehensive approach to combating the crisis.

KFF Health News’ release provides this example: “If their county is receiving $5,000 this year, it wouldn’t make sense to advocate for a $500,000 detox facility. Instead, they might focus on purchasing naloxone, a medication that reverses opioid overdoses. Knowing the yearly amount also allows people to track the funds and ensure they’re not being misspent…”

It is important to note that these settlement payouts are just one aspect of a multi-faceted strategy required to address the opioid crisis comprehensively. While the financial support is crucial, it must be accompanied by evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery programs to make a lasting impact on affected communities. The disclosed amounts should be seen as a starting point for a broader conversation on tackling the complex issues surrounding opioid addiction.

“Unlike the tobacco settlements, funds from the opioid settlements are making their way to the states and communities to be used specifically for addiction recovery. Unfortunately, some communities within a state, that were destroyed due to the free flowing distribution of these addictive opioids, appear to be receiving just a meager share from their state. It is important for these community leaders to speak up for their local citizens. Families have been destroyed,” said Coletta Dorado, Founder & CEO of AZZLY®, Inc. and an advocate for community outpatient treatment centers to support long term recovery.

Click here to see the data yourself. KFF Health News’ lookup tool includes five documents for each state and territory: three revealing payments by the pharmaceutical distributors (AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson) in 2021, 2022, and 2023; and two more revealing payments by Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen in 2022 and 2023.

These payments are only the beginning. In addition to the payments due from these three distributors and Janssen for the remainder of the two-decade period, several other pharmaceutical companies will begin making payments this year.


The public disclosure of opioid settlement payouts to local governments marks a significant step towards transparency and accountability. The revelation of these figures allows for a clearer understanding of the financial compensation provided to affected communities in the aftermath of the opioid crisis. By making this information publicly accessible, stakeholders can assess the impact of these settlements and ensure that allocated funds are utilized effectively. It is essential to recognize that these payouts are just one part of a larger effort required to address the complex challenges posed by opioid addiction. With transparency and continued commitment, we can strive towards lasting solutions and support the recovery of affected communities.

AZZLY is proud to support the providers tackling opioid addiction with an all-in-one electronic health records (EHR), patient management (PM), and revenue cycle management (RCM) (RCM) solution, purpose-built for substance use disorder treatment centers. Schedule some with an AZZLY Expert to discuss our modern platform, AZZLY Rize. Reach out with any inquiries at hello@azzly.com or (772) 567-0206. We are proud to serve these community treatment centers.