Opioid Settlement Funds

You spoke, we listened

In January 2022, we listened to Wisconsinites explain the profound impact of the opioid epidemic and potential strategies to save lives. Our goal was to gather input from a broad group of stakeholders to inform our use of future opioid settlement funds.

  • 598 people attended one of our 12 listening sessions.
  • 897 comments submitted through our input survey.

We heard from substance use services providers, family and friends of people with a substance use disorder, and people living with a substance use disorder.

Summary: Invest across the continuum from prevention to recovery

We heard that supporting policy and systems change is essential to success. The remainder of the feedback falls into one of the areas listed below. 

  • Address root causes. Address the social determinants of health. Improve access to mental health services. Bolster family stability. Reduce people's exposure to trauma and the impact of trauma.
  • Prevent proactively. Provide evidence-based substance use prevention education, especially in K-12 schools, as well as in communities. Consider including voices of those with lived experience to reduce stigma in communities.
  • Enhance harm reduction. Maintain and expand harm reduction strategies, including needle exchange, safe use sites, increased access and use of naloxone/NARCAN®, and fentanyl test strips.
  • Expand treatment options. Increase the accessibility and availability of all forms of treatment that follow best practices. Ensure equity in the location and delivery of treatment options.
  • Support recovery. Support individuals in recovery with targeted wraparound services. Provide direct support to families with a loved one with substance use disorder. 

Read the full report
The Opioid Epidemic: You Spoke, We Listened, P-03211 (PDF)

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Opioids in Wisconsin

Opioids are powerful drugs. Prescription pain relievers, fentanyl, and heroin hurt Wisconsin residents every day. More people die of opioid overdoses in Wisconsin each year than car crashes. But there is something more powerful than opioids: All of us. Together, we can reduce the dangers of opioids and their impact on our communities.

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Status of the settlements

We don't yet know how much money we will receive from all the settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors. Here's what we know at this time.

Wisconsin will receive over $400 million from separate settlements with three opioid distributors (Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen) and Johnson & Johnson. Payments from these two settlements should start flowing to the state in the second quarter of 2022. The payments from the distributors will continue over 18 years. The payments from Johnson & Johnson will continue over nine years. Under 2021 Wisconsin Act 57, 30 percent of the payments is allocated to us. The other 70 percent is allocated to communities that joined this litigation. 

Two other settlements are in process. 

DHS Opioid Settlement Funds Proposal for State Fiscal Year 2023 (PDF)
This report was submitted to the Joint Committee on Finance April 1, 2022.

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Last Revised: May 22, 2022