Nebraska legislation would treat opioid addiction

Legislation introduced in the Nebraska Legislature would fund the treatment and prevention of opioid addiction.

The Opioid Prevention and Treatment Act would create the Nebraska Opioid Recovery Fund.

The fund specifically would be for opioid-disorder treatment and prevention. It would be funded with money the state receives from the U.S. Department of Justice regarding lawsuits against opioid manufacturers accused of deceptive advertising.

Funds have yet to be received, but would be distributed in accordance with the terms of any verdict, judgment, compromise, or settlement. The opioid manufacturers are accused of violating the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act or the Consumer Protection Act.

In addition, the bill requires the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to report on how funds were distributed and the outcomes to the governor, attorney general and legislature. The report must be made annually.

Sen. Sara Howard (D-Omaha) introduced the bill in January and it was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee. In March, it was placed in the General File, and it advanced to Enrollment and Review last week.

“Receiving this money will go a long way in combating the opioid epidemic,” Howard said.

Lawmakers unanimously adopted a technical amendment that clarifies how the fund would be managed and expenditures made.