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News / Health / Health Wire

Kroger to pay Washington $47.5 million over role in opioid crisis

By Claire Withycombe, The Seattle Times
Published: April 23, 2024, 5:41pm

OLYMPIA — The grocery chain Kroger is slated to pay the state of Washington $47.5 million for its role in the opioid epidemic, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Tuesday.

The state sued Kroger, along with Albertsons and Rite Aid, in December 2022 in King County Superior Court, arguing the chains failed to act as a check against the overprescription of opioids. The lawsuit against Albertsons and Rite Aid is still ongoing.

The lawsuit is part of a wave of legal actions taken by the state of Washington and other state governments to hold companies to account for their part in the spiraling of the opioid crisis.

The money, to be paid out over 11 years, will be used to fight the opioid epidemic, with half going to the state and half going toward local governments, the Attorney General’s Office said in an announcement.

“My legal team took on some of the largest corporations in the world and held them accountable for their role fueling the opioid epidemic,” Ferguson said in a statement. “We’ve won more than $1.2 billion that’s going to every community in the state to combat the opioid and fentanyl epidemic by improving treatment options, educating youth and supporting first responders.”

The settlement has not yet been finalized, but the Attorney General’s Office said it was “confident” it would be.