How Police Departments and Other Law Enforcement Can Access the Opioid Settlement Funds*
Opioid Settlement Funds: Our State-by-State Guide:
Can your department use opioid settlement funds for PAARI/ Angel Programs?
The Master Opioid Settlement Agreement creates a huge opportunity to expand and support Angel Programs and other PAARI-type models of deflection and diversion.
The settlement language encourages Public Safety/Public Health partnerships by specifically listing programs that qualify for funding, including referencing PAARI and our Angel Programs:
Distributor Settlement Agreement, Exhibit E, Sch. B, Sec. D, Paragraph 1.1 Reads:
” D. ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE-INVOLVED PERSONS
Address the needs of persons with OUD and any co-occurring SUD/MH conditions who are involved in, are at risk of becoming involved in, or are transitioning out of the criminal justice system through evidence-based or evidence-informed programs or strategies that may include, but are not limited to, those that:
1. Support pre-arrest or pre-arraignment diversion and deflection strategies for persons with OUD and any co-occurring SUD/MH conditions, including established strategies such as:
1. Self-referral strategies such as the Angel Programs or the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative (“PAARI”);”
According to a recent survey of our members, over 50% of our partners have an “Angel Program” or other self-referral program that could qualify for funding under the opioid settlement language.
That section goes on to include “3. ‘Naloxone Plus’ strategies, which work to ensure that individuals who have received naloxone to reverse the effects of an overdose are then linked to treatment programs or other appropriate services;”
Over 65% of the partners we surveyed, also reported that they are engaged in these overdose outreach strategies that also could qualify for funding.
Finally, nearly 80% of the partners surveyed reported that their officers carry naloxone. Naloxone distribution and training for first responders is a core strategy for opioid remediation in the Settlement Agreement (Exhibit E, Sched. A, Sect. A, Paragraphs 1 & 2).
Below you will find more background information about the settlement agreement, but you can also skip to the printable guide: “Tips on How to Access Opioid Settlement Funds”
What are the opioid settlement funds and who is entitled to them?
“On February 25, 2022, the National Prescription Opiate Litigation Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) finalized settlements totaling $26 billion with three of the nation’s top wholesale pharmaceutical drug distributors, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson and opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. Fifty-two states and territories and thousands of local governments across the country signed on to the agreement which was made possible by years of advocacy by the PEC on behalf of more than 3,300 community clients and State Attorneys General.” (South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health)
The lists of states and their allocation percentages can be found on Exhibit F of the Master Distributor Settlement Agreement.
What entity will receive the funds?
Each state has its own internal agreement on how to split the funds between local governments (cities and counties) and the state. This website was put together by the attorneys who managed the national distributor opioid settlement. It has links to most of the local government subdivision/state agreements, or the statutes that guide the spending. Generally, each state-level document lays out what percentage each subdivision will receive of the total state settlement funds and what the funds must be spent on. Funds are generally divided between the state and smaller governmental entities such as: cities, counties, sheriffs (ex. Louisiana), or a trust (ex. Massachusetts).
How will funds be spent?
Under the master opioid settlement agreement, the majority of funds from the settlement must be used for current and future opioid remediation. The master opioid settlement includes an approved “List of Opioid Remediation Uses” in Exhibit E that suggests how funds can be used. That list includes both “Core Strategies” and “Approved Uses.”
What are Core Strategies for the Opioid Settlement funds?
“Core Strategies” include the following:
- Naloxone or other FDA-approved drug to reverse opioid overdoses
- Medication-Assisted Treatment (“MAT”) Distribution and Other Opioid-Related Treatment
- Pregnant & Postpartum Women
- Expanding Treatment For Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (“Nas”)
- Expansion Of Warm Hand-Off Programs And Recovery Services
- Treatment For Incarcerated Population
- Prevention Programs
- Expanding Syringe Service Programs
- Evidence-Based Data Collection And Research Analyzing The Effectiveness Of The Abatement Strategies Within The State
Each of these strategies includes additional examples and definitions in Exhibit E.
What are Approved Uses for the Opioid Settlement funds?
The list of “Approved Uses” lists many uses that are broadly broken into three categories: treatment, prevention and other strategies. Those are, in turn, broken into the following categories (again each Use includes examples and definitions):
- Treat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)
- Support People In Treatment And Recovery
- Connect People Who Need Help To The Help They Need (Connections To Care)
- Address The Needs Of Criminal Justice-Involved Persons
- Address The Needs Of Pregnant Or Parenting Women And Their Families, Including Babies With Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
- Prevent Over-Prescribing And Ensure Appropriate Prescribing And Dispensing Of Opioids
- Prevent Misuse Of Opioids
- Prevent Overdose Deaths And Other Harms (Harm Reduction)
- First Responders
- Leadership, Planning And Coordination
How can I tell what my state is using the funds for?
States are generally using a trust, a state subdivision agreement, or a state statute to govern how funds are spent. Many states are using the Exhibit E list, verbatim, in their governing documents. However, some states have included additional programs or limitations on the funds. For example, in Massachusetts and New York, funds must be used to supplement programs and not to supplant current funding. Find your state’s list of approved uses in your state’s state-specific guiding document.
How can your program receive funding for the work you are doing?*
Step 1:Find and read your state’s settlement agreement. This website has links to most of the state settlement agreements. This is another resource that shows how funds are allocated between state and local authorities.
Step 2: Determine which entity will control how the money is spent. This website has links to additional state websites that indicate where funds will be held.
Step 3: Apply for funding with the relevant controlling entities. Some states are already publicizing an application process, other states have not gotten that far. If your state has not publicized an application process, now is the perfect time to reach out to the committee/board/entity which will be making those decisions to tell them about your program.
Step 4: Things to consider when advocating for your program.
Include key stats: Some potential statistics you could share: # of overdoses responded to in your community, # of fatal overdoses in your community, # of people your department has referred to treatment, # of partners you are working with, # of contacts your department has had individuals with Opioid Use Disorder and any co-occurring substance use disorder/Mental Health condition.
Include a budget: Tell the potential funders how your program or department would use the funds, and include amounts for those costs.
Include a citation: Find where PAARI and deflection programs are cited in your state’s controlling document (subdivision agreement, trust, or statute) and include a citation to that source.
Include letters of support: PAARI will write our partners letters of support, consider asking us or other groups you work with to provide a letter of support.
Include your successes: For example, if you were the first program of your type in your state, let the potential funders know, if you have served X number of people, if you have referred X people to treatment, if you have X partners that you work with, if you answered X calls, if overdose deaths in your community have decreased, if you’ve built trust, if you’ve incorporated peer support, if you’ve overcome obstacles etc.
*This guide is intended to support your work and is not intended to provide legal advice. We encourage you to consult your own legal counsel.
National Opioid Settlement Site by Directing Administrator: https://nationalopioidsettlement.com
Opioid Settlement Tracker – Comprehensive look at how funds are being distributed and spent created by private citizen unrelated to the settlement: https://www.opioidsettlementtracker.com
Massachusetts Attorney General’s Site of FAQ: