Attorney General discusses McKinsey settlement

Published 9:54 am Thursday, October 21, 2021

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Attorney General Steve Marshall announced this week the first distribution of funds recovered by the state through a February 2021 settlement with McKinsey & Company for its role in the opioid crisis.

Marshall met with the Office of Prosecution Services and officers from the Alabama District Attorneys Association, and awarded the prosecutors $1.5 million to invest into the state’s specialty courts—including drug courts, veterans’ courts, and mental health courts.

The terms of the state’s settlement with McKinsey states that funds recovered by the State used “to remediate the harms caused to the State and its citizens by the opioid epidemic” and “to recover the costs incurred by the state in investigating and pursuing its claims” against McKinsey.

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Drug courts are identified as an effective means of treating offenders driven to crime by a substance use disorder, with the goal of ultimately closing the revolving door of incarceration.

The State alleged that McKinsey contributed to the opioid crisis by promoting marketing schemes and consulting services to opioid manufacturers, including OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, for more than a decade.

The complaint, filed with the settlement, details how McKinsey advised Purdue on how to maximize profits from its opioid products, including targeting high-volume opioid prescribers, using specific messaging to get physicians to prescribe more OxyContin to more patients, and circumventing pharmacy restrictions in order to deliver high-dose prescriptions.

“Investing in Alabama’s drug courts is directly responsive to the needs of individuals struggling with opioid addiction, but also to the significant strain that the opioid epidemic has placed on our District Attorneys’ offices and court systems across the state,” Marshall said in a release. “President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis rightly recognized the role that drug courts can play in leading our state and country out of this epidemic and I am pleased to make a financial contribution to this end.”

Alabama District Attorneys Association President and Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson  appreciates the decision made by Marshall.

“I appreciate the Attorney General’s acknowledgement of the burden that the opioid crisis has placed on prosecutorial offices, which is so often overlooked,” Jackson said.

“Drug courts and pretrial diversion programs are an extremely valuable tool—not only can this type of intervention save the lives of addicted offenders, but these programs also help decrease victimization within communities. We are grateful for our ongoing partnership with the Attorney General’s Office to make our state a safer place to live.”

Alabama will receive $7.6 million this year, and a total of $9 million, from McKinsey & Company. This is the first multistate opioid settlement to result in substantial payment to the states to address the crisis. Two other distributions from the McKinsey settlement funds will be announced this week.