Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced a coordinated bipartisan agreement with county leaders from around the state regarding the way Texas will direct future settlement money to people most impacted from the opioid epidemic. Texas is one of the lead states currently negotiating financial settlements with the nation’s largest companies in the opioid supply chain.
“The opioids crisis is an ongoing epidemic that impacts countless families throughout Texas and our nation,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Families around Texas – from large urban areas to small farming and ranching communities – will benefit from this collaborative effort between my office and local leaders across our state. This agreement provides Texans in all 254 counties with desperately needed funding for education, prevention, and treatment in our fight against opioid abuse.”
County officials from around the state lauded the agreement reached between the Attorney General’s office and the localities:
“Today’s agreement unites the State of Texas with its counties and cities to create one powerful voice that will hold the companies responsible for creating this epidemic accountable.” Judge Juan Rodriguez, Jr., Jim Wells County
“This alliance with the State of Texas guarantees that in the event of settlements with opioid drug companies, Smith County and the entire East Texas region for which Tyler serves as a medical treatment hub, will receive the money necessary to better prevent and treat opioid addiction, overdoses, and reduce related criminal activity.” Judge Nathanial Moran, Smith County
“In making this agreement with the State, we set aside all political differences of opinion to do what’s best for the citizens of Dallas County, and we are proud to share this important news.” Judge Clay Jenkins, Dallas County
“Today’s agreement unites the State of Texas with its urban and rural counties and cities to create one powerful voice that will hold the companies responsible for creating this opioid epidemic accountable.” Burleson County Attorney Susan Deski
“I am pleased to announce today that efforts by Harris County and other counties around the state, along with the Texas Attorney General, have resulted in an agreement that I hope will ultimately end the scourge of opioid addiction.” Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan
“The agreement ensures that the vast majority of the dollars from settlements against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies will treat addiction and help Texans from all walks of life in every part of our great state, including Leon County.” Leon County District Attorney Hope Knight
“Both Texas and Nueces County had a good day today, one that will help us put the opioid epidemic behind us. I am proud that Nueces County took a leading role in this most important endeavor.” Judge Barbara Canales, Nueces County
“Together we have achieved an agreement to remediate the opioids epidemic in this state. Today, Texas is neither a red state, nor a blue state. It is a smart state.” Judge Richard Cortez, Hidalgo County
Opioids are a family of drugs including prescription painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin. Nationwide and in Texas, prescription and illegal opioids are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in 67,367 deaths in 2018, including 3,005 in Texas. Opioid overdoses in the U.S. have quadrupled since 1999.
The full statements from county officials are available here.
Read a copy of the agreement here.