State attorneys general vowed that opioid settlement funds — unlike the tobacco settlement of the 1990s — would go toward tackling the underlying crisis. But in Mendocino County, officials have found a way to use some of its share to help fill a budget shortfall — a throwback to what agreement architects hoped to avoid.
As settlement dollars land at the state level, state councils wield significant power in determining how the windfall gets spent. And, though they will likely include the most knowledgeable voices on addiction, these panels also face concerns about conflicts of interest and other issues.
States and localities are receiving more than $54 billion over nearly two decades.
KFF Health News obtained documents showing the exact dollar amounts — down to the cent — that local governments have been allocated in 2022 and 2023 to battle the ongoing opioid crisis.
Algunos estados, como Carolina del Norte y Colorado, han publicado en internet los detalles de su distribución. Pero en la mayoría de los lugares es complicado.
Greene County, Tennessee, so far has received more than $2.7 million from regional and national settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors. But most of the money is not going to help people and families harmed by addiction.
Billions of dollars are headed to state and local governments to address the opioid crisis. Policy experts and advocates expect the federal government to play a role in overseeing the use of the money. Failure to do so, they say, could lead to wasted opportunities. And, since Medicaid helps pay health care costs, the feds could have a claim to portions of states’ opioid settlements.
Spending the money effectively and equitably is a tall order for state and local governments, and a lack of transparency in the process is already leading to fears of misuse.
La mayoría de los acuerdos estipulan que los estados deben gastar al menos el 85% del dinero que recibirán, en los próximos 15 años, en el tratamiento y la prevención de adicciones.
Some people say it’s reasonable for densely populated areas to receive more settlement funds, since they serve more of those affected. But others worry this overlooks rural communities disproportionately harmed by opioid addiction.