Shedding Light on Florida’s Opioid Abatement Settlement Funds: Tracking Transparency in Tampa Bay
As a result of the landmark legal resolution against pharmaceutical opioid manufacturers and distributors for their role in the overdose crisis, Florida was awarded more than $3 billion aimed at alleviating the devastating crisis brought about by the opioid epidemic.
While the lion’s share of the funding is to be distributed by state and regional entities, 15% has been designated to flow directly to each Florida county proportional to its population. This allocation comes with a profound responsibility, as it empowers our local communities to make decisions that will directly impact the lives of those affected by this crisis. These funds, which can be anywhere between $3 and $13 million per year, depending on location, can be earmarked for recovery services, prevention initiatives, treatment facilities, educational campaigns, or any other purpose that helps communities address the epidemic of overdose deaths and the devastation left in its wake.
While the need for funding is great, the process counties go through to distribute these dollars can be difficult to track. With this column, Live Tampa Bay intends to increase clarity, transparency, and–ultimately–accountability with regards to these funds.
The funds are being distributed annually over the next 18 years, so the process of monitoring spending will be long as well. With the table below, we begin this journey even before some counties have issued their first grants.
Additionally, we will spotlight estimable peers from across the US. By bringing people together across jurisdiction, we hope to foster conversation, generate ideas, and be better stewards of this money. To this end, we focus on counties from states similarly situated to Florida – paying particular attention to those states which, like Florida, have not increased Medicaid and have been in the bottom quartile of per capita spending on behavioral healthcare. We begin by focusing on Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership.
Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership joined our Stakeholder Coalition Meeting on November 2 to share how their cities and counties are working together to distribute the opioid settlement funds. While their organizational approach is unique, their focus on putting their values into action and on engaging those impacted by this crisis is noteworthy. To hear more about Arkansas’ approach click on the video below: