PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia could receive $28 million as part of an opioid settlement from Kroger. The grocery store chain will pay more than $1 billion to several states for its role in the opioid crisis.
Kroger is the latest retail chain to announce a settlement. Prosecutors say the chain fueled the opioid epidemic through lax oversight of its sale of prescriptions.
Kroger announced Friday that it will pay $1.2 billion dollars to several U.S. states, settling claims that it fueled the opioid epidemic. The grocery store chain follows the actions of Walgreens, CVS and Walmart.
From 1999-2020, more than 564,000 people have died from opioid overdoses according to the CDC. The deaths include opioids that were medically prescribed and illegal opioids.
It’s a battle that Virginia leaders say is getting worse.
“We are really seeing a major challenge across the Commonwealth and across the country,” said Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. “That is the drug crisis that we’re seeing.”
Just last month, the Virginia Beach Police Department revealed an increase in deadly fentanyl overdoses.
“Do we have a particular potent strain of fentanyl that’s out there? Was it not cut properly by the distributors? We don’t know until we recover some of that,” said Police Chief Paul Neudigate, “(and) we test it to see what the purity is.”
Tes La Dieu with the Hampton and Peninsula Health District said recognizing the signs of an overdose can make a difference between life and death.
“If they have the pinpoint pupil, they get clammy,” La Dieu said. “If they start to turn blue, if they have a limp body or start to choke or slow or weak breathing, those are all signs somebody may have overdosed.”
A Kroger spokesperson says the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing or liability.