Funds recovered from Oklahoma’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturers are headed to that state’s municipalities and counties, Rep. Kevin Wallace (R-Wellston), chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, said on Friday.
The $23 million settlement will be distributed to areas throughout the state that have been impacted by the opioid crisis, Wallace said.
“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.”
HB 4138, created by Wallace and Senate Appropriations Chair Roger Thompson(R-Okemah), would create the Political Subdivisions Opioid Abatement Grants Act that will create grants to promote and protect Oklahomans health and abate the effect of the opioid crisis.
The bill would direct any funds from opioid settlements or judgments received by the state Attorney General into the Oklahoma Opioid Abatement Revolving Fund. Money from that fund will go through a newly created Oklahoma Opioid Abatement board, a nine-member panel that would determine grant eligibility and would disburse grants from the fund.
The two legislators also authored HB 4140 that funds the Revolving Fund with $10.22 million from the opioid lawsuit settlement fund. The bill goes into effect on 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.”