Alabama has negotiated for a $270 million settlement for the harm caused by opioids in the state—now it just has to decide how to use that money.
The Alabama Opioid Settlement Oversight Committee on Thursday heard from 15 entities, mostly private, vying for a portion of that money.
Lawmakers established the committee in June to determine where funding from the settlement should be directed.
State Health Officer Scott Harris told Alexander Willis of Alabama Daily News that he believes the focus should be on treatment.
“We all come from our own positions from our own experiences, (but) with my work on the Opioid Counsel, we have really tried to emphasize getting resources to people who need treatment, that’s a really big part of what we see as important,”Harris said. “So we really hope that we can use this opportunity to reach those people who are most in need, those people who are really struggling.”
$8.5 million of the settlement money has already been allocated to the Alabama Department of Mental Health, which made its own pitch for more funding during the meeting.
Many of the entities seeking funding were private rehabilitation services.
But some feel the focus should be on prevention rather than treatment.
Alabama Public Television said a portion of the funding could be used to fund an awareness campaign through the public broadcast network.
The full list of entities that made presentations Thursday is below:
- Alabama Department of Mental Health
- His Way Ministries
- New Life for Women
- Accountability Courts Expansion
- Southern Research
- Recovery Works Whitepaper
- Military Officers Association
- Boys & Girls Clubs
- Alabama Public Television
- Client Care Continuum
- Birmingham Recovery Center
- Alabama Fentanyl Abuse Treatment and Prevention Coalition
- Cullman County Sheriff
- Emergent Bio Solutions-Narcan