NJ hospitals and doctors will receive $1 billion in fines from the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for failing to properly treat fentanyl overdose deaths, the health department announced Tuesday.
The payments are part of a settlement announced Tuesday by the health agency, which said it had reached more than $1,000 million in settlements for the last 10 years.
The state has already paid more than a billion dollars in fines in the past five years, and the latest $1 million settlement is the largest so far, the agency said in a statement.
The fines also include more than 2,500 convictions and $500 million in court costs, it said.
The drug deaths have resulted in an epidemic of overdose deaths nationwide.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid used to treat pain, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
It has a half-life of about seven to nine hours, which is about four times as long as heroin.
The Drug Enforcement Agency said in 2016 it has recovered over a million pounds of fentanyl, but only a fraction of that amount was used for drugs.