Nebraska agrees to settlement with Walmart in lawsuit over opioid dispensing

By: - November 15, 2022 11:53 am

(Getty Images)

LINCOLN — Nebraska has given its OK to a $3 billion settlement with Walmart in a lawsuit alleging that the company contributed to the opioid addiction crisis by failing to properly oversee the dispensing of the highly addictive painkillers.

The settlement, if ratified by 43 states by the end of the year, would provide more than $11 million to Nebraska’s Opioid Recovery Fund. That fund, administered by the State Department of Health and Human Services, must be used for opioid disorder-related treatment and prevention.

In a press release on Tuesday, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said that settlement negotiations are also well underway with Walgreens and CVS but that Walmart has been the most proactive in trying to monitor and prevent abuse of opioid prescriptions.

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson (Courtesy of the Attorney General’s Office)

Peterson said he hopes the opioid settlement funds can help support strong opioid addiction treatment programs and “significantly reduce opioid use disorder in Nebraska.”

In 2020, 214 Nebraskans died of opioid abuse, according to the national Centers for Disease Control. Nebraska’s death rate of 11.3 per 100,000 people was second-lowest in the nation that year, with only South Dakota (at 10.3 per 100,000) having a lower death rate.

The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office was one of 16 states that served as lead negotiators with Walmart. The AG’s office expressed optimism that the settlement will gain support of the required 43 states.


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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. He started his career reporting for the Omaha Sun and later, editing the Papillion Times group in suburban Omaha. He joined the Lincoln Journal-Star as a sports enterprise reporter, and then a roving reporter covering southeast Nebraska. In 1990, he was hired by the Omaha World-Herald as a legislative reporter. Later, for 15 years, he roamed the state covering all kinds of news and feature stories. In the past decade, he served as chief of the Lincoln Bureau and enterprise reporter. Paul has won awards for reporting from Great Plains Journalism, the Associated Press, Nebraska Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a member of the Nebraska Hop Growers and a volunteer caretaker of Irvingdale Park in Lincoln.