Editorial: Use the opioid settlements to fight the opioid crisis

Makers and sellers of prescription painkillers will soon begin paying out billions of dollars to settle lawsuits that have accused them of fueling the opioid epidemic. Most recently, more than 40 states have agreed to accept $26 billion from Johnson &Johnson and three big drug distributors, to be paid out over 18 years. It’s a considerable sum — except when measured against more than half a million lives lost this century to opioid overdose, or the tens of billions that state, local and tribal governments spend each year to address the painkiller-heroin-fentanyl scourge.