Government Affairs and Advocacy

New Toolkit for Community-Based Organizations on Advocating for, Accessing Opioid Settlement Funds

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January 4, 2022

Social Current has collaborated with Prevent Child Abuse America on a new toolkit to help community-based organizations understand how to advocate for and access funds available through recent opioid settlements with pharmaceutical companies. The prevention and treatment services that community-based organizations provide are essential to addressing the ongoing opioid epidemic.

After a lengthy legal process to hold companies accountable for downplaying the addictiveness of opioids, 47 states have settled with opioid manufacturers, pharmaceutical distributors, and pharmacies for $26 billion. Separate opioid settlements are in process or concluded in the remaining states as well as additional localities. Though the funds resulting from the major settlement are temporarily in limbo because of legal action taken by the family that owns Purdue Pharma, these resources will ultimately be used to address the opioid crisis, and it is critical that community-based organizations begin preparing now to ensure that these funds are used not just for treatment, but also for prevention.

The settlement funds, proposed to be disbursed over the next 18 years and frontloaded at the beginning, will go to states and localities for the purpose of addressing the opioid epidemic. As these funds flow to entities across the nation, community-based organizations must have a seat at the table to decide how these funds are spent locally. These will be significant investments in the kinds of services our sector provides. The deep impact of the opioid epidemic has made it clear that a major part of the solution will be strengthening communities with upstream resources and supports.

This guide offers tools and resources to help community-based organizations navigate the complex legal and legislative process. Organizations should reach out to relevant stakeholders immediately, as these decisions are being made now in many states.

Download the toolkit from the Policy Action Center.

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