In July, a group of state attorneys announced a $26 billion settlement with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three other companies that distribute painkillers for damages associated with the rising opioid epidemic in the United States. The settlement is conditional and contingent on state and local participation, according to the agenda packet.
Texas and 41 other states have opted into the settlement, which reads that to receive funds from the agreement, the state must release all present and future claims against the defendants in the case. Texas is set to receive $1.5 billion as part of the settlement.
The state will then distribute funds to cities that opt into the settlement agreement. The same stipulation about present and future claims applies to municipalities if they wish to opt in, according to the agenda packet.
Tomball City Attorney Loren Smith said he is unaware of how the state calculated how much money each municipality would receive. Council Member Lori Klein Quinn said although Tomball is receiving more money than other cities, that does not mean the opioid crisis is worse in the city.
While the council did not discuss specific actions for how it would use the funds, Klein Quinn said she would like to see the money used for educational purposes to teach children the dangers of drug use. Council Member Chad Degges suggested the city use the funds for general drug prevention efforts.
The deadline for cities to opt into the settlement is Jan. 2, 2022, according to the agenda packet. After that, the defendants in the settlement will have 30 days to determine whether a "critical mass" of cities have opted in and then distribute the funds.