Opioid crisis: New Hampshire strikes $40.5 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson

About $31.5 million of Johnson & Johnson's payment to New Hampshire will go to combating the opioid crisis

Johnson & Johnson reached a $40.5 million settlement over opioid claims brought by New Hampshire, a state that has been hit especially hard by the opioid crisis, the state's attorney general announced on Thursday. 

"New Hampshire has been devastated by the opioid crisis, and we continue to deal with the impacts of that crisis today," New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella said in a statement. 

The state will receive $31.5 million of the payout, all of which will be used for combating the opioid crisis

Johnson & johnson

A Johnson & Johnson building is shown in Irvine, California.  (REUTERS/Mike Blake / Reuters Photos)

A trial was scheduled for next week in Merrimack County Superior Court, with New Hampshire alleging that Johnson & Johnson "aggressively marketed" its opioids, "misrepresented" how safe the drugs were and "promoted the false concept of pseudoaddiction."

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Johnson & Johnson, which no longer sells prescription opioids in the U.S., said the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing. 

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"The Company’s actions relating to the marketing and promotion of important prescription opioid medications were appropriate and responsible," Johnson & Johnson said in a statement. 

New Hampshire State House

File photo of the New Hampshire State House in Concord, N.H.  (Fox News / Fox News)

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Over half a million Americans have died from drug overdoses involving opioids since the 1990s. 

The first wave of the crisis was primarily caused by prescription opioids in the 1990s. Heroin became the main driver of overdose deaths around 2010, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl have been increasing since about 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.