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Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller on US opioid settlement

For the Kidds, taking responsibility for the opioid crisis is a step in the right direction. Her son died of fentanyl poisoning at the age of almost 17.

IOWA, United States — Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and a bipartisan group of attorneys general recently reached a settlement with CVS and Walgreens to address the opioid crisis, giving states more than $10 billion to address the issue to tackle

The two represent the largest pharmacy chains in the United States and told investors they would pay the federal government billions of dollars over 15 years.

CVS is paying $5 billion over 10 years and Walgreens is paying just under $6 billion over 15 years. Following these announcements, Walmart agreed to pay more than $3 billion.

Iowa is set to receive $225 million to help with opioid treatment and recovery services.

“It’s a significant amount of money, an opportunity to fix some of the mistakes of this terrible pandemic, an epidemic that should never have happened,” Miller told Local 5.

Attorneys general accused the companies of ignoring red flags about opioid prescriptions and failing to recognize and prevent abuse and diversion of the drugs.

The settlement blames the companies for their role in the opioid epidemic and accuses the companies of bribing doctors and engaging in illegal behavior.

For Deric and Kathy Kidd, this responsibility is a step in the right direction. Her son died of fentanyl poisoning at the age of almost 17.

“There’s nothing more important than the life of a child or anyone, so you can’t put a number on it,” Deric said.

The couple continue to educate communities about the dangers of drugs. Her goal is to help people find support to overcome addiction, beginning with family support groups.

“More people are joining our groups every day and it’s absolutely heartbreaking,” said Deric.

They are optimistic that using the money to fund more treatment programs, preventive education and drug abstinence will help and reduce the number of opioids prescribed for surgical and dental procedures.

The Kidds believe that deadly drugs are a risk to society that is here to stay, requiring everyone to work together to address it.

“Until we all get together and work together, it’s not going to go away,” Deric said. “I don’t think that will ever go away, but there are ways to minimize it.”

“I think it has to be a constant conversation,” Kathy added. “We can’t just try and say ‘OK’. I think we have to create things that are consistent and constant.”

That’s a commitment Miller believes the settlement will fulfill.

“We think the treatment is so important and it works. It’s challenging, but it works and it can make a difference in a person’s life and in the life of their family, too,” he said. “We think that when people have a low-grade opioid that satisfies cravings but doesn’t consistently deliver the high and function with a normal life like the rest of us, it should be both abstinence and medical help for treatment.”

If you or a loved one has an opioid use disorder, visit IowaOpioidHelp.com. The Iowa Attorney General’s Office launched the website in September to provide a path to recovery for Iowa residents.

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