States Decide On How To Spend Billions From Settlement In Opioid Cases
Among other uses, opioid settlement funds are being used for treatment, prevention, and overdose detection. They also help to reduce the current debt incurred by local governments. Approximately 200 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Despite the opioid crisis, there has been very little public discussion about how the funds are being spent.
The distribution of opioid settlement funds will vary by state. Most have created legislatively-appointed bodies to oversee the opioid abatement funds. Each state is also using different processes for spending the funds. Some states are beginning to receive lump sums of money from the settlements. Others have developed systems to address structural drivers of the opioid epidemic.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has issued a set of principles for state and local leaders to follow. These principles call for leaders to develop a transparent process and use evidence to guide spending. They also call for leaders to prioritize strategies that save lives.
In order to be eligible for settlement funds, local governments must be part of an opioid task force. Task forces must include representatives of law enforcement, health professionals, and individuals directly impacted by the opioid epidemic. These groups must also file annual reports detailing the spending of opioid settlement funds.
Opioid settlements are agreements between participating states and businesses involved in the distribution of prescription opioids. These companies include Johnson & Johnson (J&J), distributors, and pharmaceutical manufacturers. These settlements are the result of thousands of civil lawsuits filed by state governments. Some local governments also pursued legal action against these businesses. The companies agreed to pay a total of $26 billion to settle the claims of these governments.
Payments are being made this summer. They will continue for an 18-year period. The distribution will be calculated according to an allocation agreement among the Attorneys General of each state. Each state will be responsible for spending about 70 percent of the money. The remaining 15 percent is open to the states to spend in any way they choose. The funds can also be used to reimburse the state for past opioid-related expenses. A significant portion of the settlement funds will go toward legal fees. If the state does not meet the thresholds, payments may be suspended or reduced.
In Hawaii, opioid settlement funds are being allocated by a formula that takes into account the population size of the state. The funds are being distributed to all cities and towns with a population of 25,000 or more. The funds have been allocated to 24 eligible Cities and 44 Counties.
A number of cities and towns are already participating in opioid settlements. These include the state of Colorado, which has agreed to use 85% of the money to prevent the opioid epidemic. The settlements were also announced by Hawaii Governor David Ige. These funds include $15 million over nine years from Johnson and Johnson and $63 million over 18 years from three major opioid distributors.