Millions won in Oxycontin lawsuit now helping Kentuckians recove - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Millions won in Oxycontin lawsuit now helping Kentuckians recover from drug addiction

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Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Millions of dollars won in a lawsuit over a big pharmaceutical company is starting to roll into Kentucky.

Back in 2007, the state filed a lawsuit against the maker of Oxycontin, claiming the drug company did not disclose to consumers how addictive the pills really were. 

Eight years later, the case was finally settled with Purdue Pharma. Then-Attorney General Jack Conway announced in 2015 the company would pay the state $24 million.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear calls it "blood money."

"It is money from a company that helped cause this addiction crisis," Beshear said. "There is no better way to use it than to help families claw out of this crisis."

To date, Purdue Pharma has paid the state $8 million, going to 15 drug treatment centers across the Commonwealth. More than $1 million has been spent in Louisville, including to the Maryhurst Campus in Portland to treat drug addicted teens. The other half went to Volunteers of America Freedom House, treating drug addicted mothers and pregnant women. 

"Since we've provided that funding, I know that 24 healthy babies have been born through that program," Beshear said.

Purdue Pharma will continue to pay the state $1.5 million every year until 2024. That case was just about Oxycontin, but Beshear said the state is looking into other drug companies.

"We are currently evaluating a number of different possibilities there," he said. "I think you're going to see more of these cases around the country."

Beshear went so far as to call the opioid crisis his No. 1 priority.

"It has done more to tear apart our communities than just about anything else in the last 20 to 30 years, and its going to to take us decades to climb out of it," he said.

It's up to the General Assembly to determine how to spend the $1.5 million the state will receive annually for the next seven years from the Oxycontin lawsuit. 

Related Stories:

Kentucky to get $40 million from pharmaceutical companies after lawsuits

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