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    Federal Measure Aims to Ensure Opioid Settlement Funds Used to Fight Epidemic

    A proposed federal measure introduced in the House this month is designed to ensure that $50 billion in opioid settlement funds that state and local governments receive are used to fight the opioid epidemic, NPR reports.

    The Opioid Settlement Accountability Act, introduced by Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, and Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, would ban the federal government, beginning in 2026, from using a Medicaid provision to take a portion of states’ opioid settlement funds. The bill would ensure the funds remain under local control.

    The bill would also require states to use the funds in certain ways, such as investing in treatment, prevention, equipment for law enforcement and first responders and housing or employment training for people in recovery.

    Most settlements say that states must spend at least 85% of the funds to address the opioid epidemic. They include a list of more than 100 suggested investments. But a lack of transparency and enforcement has made it difficult to know if states are meeting that threshold, the article notes. Some jurisdictions have used funds to plug budget holes or make controversial purchases such as body scanners for jails.


    January 2024