Opioid Settlement Money to Go to Cities, Counties
Mike Seals - May 29, 2020 5:01 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – House Appropriations and Budget Chair Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston, today commented on the release of almost $23 million in opioid settlement funds that will go to municipalities and counties throughout Oklahoma that have been impacted by the crisis of opioid addiction.
The funds are from settlements reached by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter with opioid manufacturers. They will be administered through grants established by legislation passed and signed into law this year.
“I wanted to let our municipalities and counties know that monetary relief to help them combat the ravaging effects of opioid addiction among their community members is close at hand,” Wallace said. “Legislation we were able to get signed into law this year will help establish the parameters of how this funding will be awarded in a way to best serve those communities most affected.”
House Bill 4138, by Wallace and Senate Appropriations Chair Roger Thompson, creates the Political Subdivisions Opioid Abatement Grants Act that will use monetary grants to promote and protect the health of Oklahomans and to abate the effects of the opioid crisis. The bill creates the Oklahoma Opioid Abatement Revolving Fund that will include opioid funds obtained through settlement or judgement by the state Attorney General from opioid litigation of pharmaceutical supply chain participants and manufacturers as well as funds appropriated by the Legislature.
The measure also creates a nine-member Oklahoma Opioid Abatement board, which will determine grant eligibility and the disbursement of the grants from the revolving fund.
Wallace and Thompson also authored House Bill 4140 that appropriates the $10.22 million from the Opioid Lawsuit Settlement Fund to the Oklahoma Opioid Abatement Revolving Fund created by HB 4138. The bill takes effect Aug. 26.
“The opioid crisis isn’t something that has only impacted our metropolitan areas. It’s taken a terrible toll on rural Oklahoma,” Thompson said. “These bills will ensure funds are available to help fight this deadly epidemic throughout the state.”
Wallace said he’s thankful for Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s willingness to facilitate the abatement board and the release of funds to affected Oklahoma municipalities and counties.
“This legislation will save the lives of Oklahomans, who are caught in the deadly cycle of addiction,” Hunter said. “That is why my utmost gratitude goes to Rep. Wallace, Sen. Thompson and the other supporters in both legislative chambers for making this a priority. Once the board members are in place, we will work to comprehensively abate the opioid crisis with the help of our community partners around the state.”