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Opioid Settlement Activities for 2021

  • 1.  Opioid Settlement Activities for 2021

    Posted 01-06-2021 13:18
    Hello Association Executives: 

    During yesterday's AE call, I shared a brief update on the opioid settlement discussions. To ensure that behavioral health providers (you and your members) have a seat at the table during the opioid settlement discussions, there are a few actions that might be helpful: 
    • Meet with your state's Attorney General. While there are discussions at the county and city levels, it is the AG and their staff who are negotiating amounts and parameters. 
    • Meet with your legislature's judiciary chair(s). It may vary state-by-state, but judiciary chairs may lead the discussion on allocation of funding within the legislature. 
    What's your ask?  You and your members know best where these dollars should be utilized. There are some items to keep in mind as you share that:
    • Identify how these dollars will be managed. State have the option to do one of three things with settlement dollars: 1. Place these dollars into a trust; 2. Create an advisory committee on distribution; or 3. Add them into the general fund. Should these settlement dollars go into the general fund, there is a risk they will not go toward public health, specifically SMI/SUD care. Underscoring the need for those dollars to support behavioral health may be an important message to convey to your policy makers.
    • Understand your state's data being used in the settlement. The data provided by the state will determine the amounts received. To identify funding allocation, there are three data points being used: Total Deaths, Total Pill Distribution, and Current Disease Burden. We understand that there is currently no national data source for these numbers. Nor are there agreed-up standards for what can be included in these numbers.  As an example, one state may use opioid-only overdoses, another polysubstance overdoses, and another any death with drugs involved. The larger the parameters used, the greater the potential amount from the settlement for the state. You may know these data sources - particularly current disease burden - better than those in the AG's office or legislature. We encourage you to share that information. 
    What resources exist to support you? Fellow AEs Malory (ME), Heather (OR), and Sarah (NC) may have resources from their previous and/or upcoming conversations. Some national researchers and advocates have published (or plan to publish) documents that may help you manage your ask:
    Our hope for you all is that you're able to garner a seat at the table as these negotiations and decisions take place. Please let us know how your conversations go and if you need additional supports. If there is an interest to create a sub committee on this topic, please reach out with your interest. 

    Thank you!

    Brett Beckerson
    Director, Policy & Advocacy
    National Council for Behavioral Health
    Washington DC