Cities and counties have yet to receive funding

The state of Indiana and all of its cities and counties are to be awarded up to $507 million for their roles in the opioid crisis as part of a massive settlement from lawsuits against drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and national distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen.

The funds will help Indiana communities fight the drug crisis, strengthen law enforcement and task forces, and fund treatments and other programs, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said in a February announcement, describing the settlement as a denoted “great gain” for the state.

Rokita, whose office is responsible for distributing the payments, also said communities would begin receiving portions of the funds in the second quarter of this year.

But nine months later, Indiana communities still haven’t received a dime, said Irwin Levin, who represents dozens of those cities and counties. Nearly 650 towns in the state were due to receive portions of their settlement earlier this year.

Levin said state officials have yet to provide an explanation for the delay or a timeline for making the payments. Conversations with officials from Rokita’s office and the Indiana State Budget Office have only resulted in finger-pointing at who or what is causing the delay, he said.

“There is no greater battle local governments are waging than efforts to address opioid problems in our community… Every day that these funds are withheld is another day that people will die from this disease,” Levin said , managing partner at Cohen & Malad.