All 95 Tennessee Counties Receive First Direct Payments from Opioid Lawsuit Settlements

More than $31.4 million in lawsuit settlement funds have been dispersed to all of Tennessee’s 95 counties by the state’s Opioid Abatement Council, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services announced in a recent press release.

The Opioid Abatement Council was established in law by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2021 to “oversee the trust and ensure funds related to opioid abuse, misuse, prevention, and awareness are dispersed throughout the state.”

The dispersed funds are part of settlement payments with three national pharmaceutical companies and opioid manufacturer Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, as an agreement over the companies’ role in creating and fueling the nationwide opioid crisis, as previously reported by The Tennessee Star.

In accordance with the settlement agreements negotiated by Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, 35 percent of initial proceeds went directly to county governments while the remaining 65 percent will be distributed through a competitive grant application process yet to be established by the Opioid Abatement Council.

The recent direct payments mark the first round of settlement dollars that will continue to be dispersed to each county annually for 18 years, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services noted.

The counties that received the largest portions from the $31.4 million in funds were Shelby County ($3,579,148.36), Davidson County ($3,425,336.82), Knox County ($2,513,123.68), Rutherford County ($1,513,354.86), and Hamilton County ($1,503,939.60).

The direct payments are intended for utilization by local leaders to “direct spending on programs to address the effects of opioids on their citizens and communities.” The Opioid Abatement Council has created a list of examples of programs and uses the funds may be used to support, which include disorder treatment programs, medication assisted treatment, recovery supports, and prevention measures.

“There isn’t a county in Tennessee that hasn’t been touched by the opioid crisis. The funding going to these counties will have an immediate and much-needed impact,” Stephen Loyd, MD, Opioid Abatement Council Chairman said in a statement. “We are excited to get this funding out to all 95 counties of our great state, and we can’t wait to see how local leaders put it to good use.”

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.


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One Thought to “All 95 Tennessee Counties Receive First Direct Payments from Opioid Lawsuit Settlements”

  1. Dear Tennessee Counties,

    Here’s some money to help with the problem we created, but we have to pay you in installments by selling more opioids.


    Big Pharms