The opioid crisis continues to leave devastating impacts across every corner of the country as overdose deaths continue to skyrocket. Alabama is no exception.
Earlier this year, the state was awarded $249 million in settlements from numerous pharmaceutical companies, eligible for specific purposes established under the terms of the agreement. Much of that fund is earmarked for initiatives to combat the crisis, including abuse prevention, treatment and recovery programs.
Under the leadership of Attorney General Steve Marshall, local jurisdictions slated to receive millions of dollars are being instructed to closely follow compliance guidelines to ensure the payments are delivered on time and to the direct benefit of communities.
“We owe it to the people of Alabama to get this right,” said Attorney General Marshall.
“Our strategy to adjudicate this matter separate and apart from nationwide settlements positioned Alabama to receive a larger allocation to address the opioid crisis here. We must now take a hard look at how the combined $600 million of state and local settlement funds can best be allocated, in compliance with the settlement terms, to maximize relief for our communities.”
Marshall issued guidance to local leaders in a letter detailing the need for good judgment and a long-term outlook.
“I am of the strong conviction that local governments know best how to combat the opioid epidemic in their communities. It is my hope that subdivisions will work with one another, and in some cases with the State, to implement a thoughtful and meaningful abatement plan that will yield regional benefits,” Marshall said.
The AG’s office said it will be keeping track of expenditures and has asked for local officials to submit information via [email protected].
Marshall said he’ll continue to be the voice and the enforcement arm against those who violated law and created this epidemic – but will also provide guidance and support to ensure settlement funds are appropriately used in compliance with the agreements.
Grayson Everett is the state and political editor for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270