CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three major distributors have finalized a nationwide settlement over their role in the opioid addiction crisis.
The announcement Friday clears the way for $26 billion to flow to nearly every state and local government in the U.S.
It's the largest settlement to date among the many opioid-related cases that have been playing out across the country and is expected to provide a significant boost to programs aimed at reversing the crisis in places that have been devastated by it.
That includes many parts of rural America.
The money is to be delivered over 18 years, and most of it must be used to fight the epidemic.
According to the Associated Press, communities could start seeing the money as soon as April.
The news outlet reported that victims would not directly see the money. Instead, the funds will be used to deal with the epidemic.
Earlier this month, Native American tribes reached a $590 million opioid settlement with the New Jersey-based drugmaker and distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson.