Bartlesville to receive nearly $1 million in state opioid settlement funds

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — Following a vote of the City Council on Monday, the City of Bartlesville is set to receive nearly $1 million in settlement funds from three opioid distributors for their role in the state’s opioid crisis, the city of Bartlesville said in a press release.

The council voted to authorize participation in the Oklahoma Opioid Distributor Settlement after hearing a presentation by City Attorney Jess Kane and Oklahoma attorney Jessica Underwood of Nix Patterson law firm, the city said. Underwood served as a lawyer for the State of Oklahoma on the opioid litigation.

“The Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General recently agreed to an historic settlement in the State’s litigation against three opioid distributors for their role in Oklahoma’s opioid crisis,” Kane said. “The settlement will result in payments over time to the State and to certain Oklahoma counties and cities, including Bartlesville.”

Underwood told the council via conference call that Oklahoma will receive more than $250 million in the settlement, $22 million of which will be shared with Oklahoma cities and counties.

“We anticipate the City of Bartlesville will receive just under $1 million,” she said.

Underwood told the council the funds must be used for “approved opioid purposes,” which include a wide range of opioid-related issues such as treatment, prevention, education, awareness, efforts to decrease opioid supplies, law enforcement intervention and support programs such as drug court.

“The statute is actually quite broad,” she said.

Participating municipalities and counties are also required to release any claims against McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc., and AmerisourceBergen Corporation to receive the funding.

Underwood said additional funding could be available in the future from other organizations, as the settlement funds in question pertain only to specific distributors.

The Distributor Settlement will be finalized this fall, Kane said.

“Oklahoma is set to receive its first payment from the settlement in December of 2022, and the Opioid Abatement Board anticipates making initial disbursements shortly thereafter,” he said.