More than $50 billion in settlement money is being delivered from opioid corporations to states and localities, yet only 12 states have committed to detailed public reporting on where their opioid settlement funding is going, Kaiser Health News reports.
Kaiser Health News worked with Christine Minhee, founder of OpioidSettlementTracker.com, to look at where opioid settlement money is going. While most of the settlements require that states must spend at least 85% of funds they receive over the next 15 years on addiction treatment and prevention, there is wide variation in defining those concepts. Some states may open treatment sites, while others purchase police cruisers.
Many people fear that with little oversight nationwide, funds may go toward efforts that research has proven ineffective but are politically popular, such as arresting people who use substances, expanding jails and favoring abstinence-only recovering over medication to treat addiction, the article notes.
There are also concerns the money will go toward unrelated uses. The agreements require the money be used on opioid-related expenses and include a list of suggested interventions, but enforcement of the 85% standard is left to the companies that paid out the money, who are unlikely to be vigilant.