State of Alaska accepts $21.5 million opioid settlement

These settlements come less than a year after a settlement agreement with opioid manufacturers that awarded the state $58 million

The State Department of Law announced Monday that Alaska has agreed to three settlements with opioid manufacturers Teva Pharmaceuticals and Allergan and chain pharmacy Walmart for approximately $21.5 million. The state is also considering further settlements proposed by CVS and Walgreens that total an additional $21 million.

These settlements come less than a year after a settlement agreement with opioid manufacturers announced in March that awarded the state $58 million, according to previous Clarion reporting. Of those funds, $8.7 million were set to be distributed to nine political subdivisions, including the Kenai Peninsula Borough. The borough is set to receive $826,500, distributed over 18 years, with some of that money being accepted as recently as last week, the Clarion reported.

In the borough, these funds are being made available via grants through the Opioid Settlement Fund Grant Program, which was accepting applications through the end of November, according to previous Clarion reporting.

Two applications were received, which could receive a total of $30,000 for care, treatment and other programming to address misuse of opioid products, the Clarion reported.

The Department of Law wrote in its press release that Alaska received nearly 304 million does of prescription opioid painkillers between 2010 and 2017. The release compares that number to Alaska’s population of 721,000 — equalling roughly 420 doses per Alaskan.

“These numbers alone should have put pharmacies and distributors on notice that there were too many opioids flooding the Alaska market, and the companies should have reported suspicious orders as required by law,” the release said.

Heidi Hedberg, who earlier this week was named commissioner of the state Department of Health, is quoted in the release, saying, “These new settlements will be added to the opioid abatement account to address prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery efforts across the state.”

The release said the state is still evaluating the proposals with Walgreens and CVS and “deciding whether to join these global settlements.”

Reach reporter Jake Dye at