PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — National grocery chain Kroger has agreed to pay $1.37 billion to settle opioid lawsuits, with $40 million going toward Oregon’s state and local governments.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, 934 residents died of unintentional opioid-related overdoses in 2022. Over the last several years, state officials have worked to hold companies accountable for their role in the drug epidemic.
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced the latest settlement agreement with Kroger on Saturday morning.
“Opioid manufacturers, distributors, dispensers and consultants all had a hand in creating the opioid crisis, and they have a responsibility to pay for the devastating results of their reckless behavior, ” Rosenblum said in a statement.
In 2022, the Oregon Department of Justice joined nine settlement agreements that will bring in $701.5 million to help the state combat its drug crisis.
Oregon’s Opioid Settlement Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Board distributes 45% of the funds to the state so officials can conduct research and pay for recovery services. The remaining funds go to local governments.
The latest settlement is still being finalized, but it will impact the several Oregon cities that hold Kroger-owned businesses such as Fred Meyer, Gerbes and GFC.
“I am pleased we are wrapping up settlements with the major involved pharmacies, including Fred Meyer (owned by Kroger), that so many Oregonians had come to trust for their health care needs,” Rosenblum added. “It will be a while before that trust is fully regained, but this settlement is a good start.”