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    Some States and Cities Use Opioid Funds to Patch Budgets Instead of Funding New Treatment and Prevention

    Some state and local governments are using opioid settlement money to replace existing funds and stretch tight budgets instead of adding new substance use disorder treatment and prevention services, KFF Health News reports.

    Scott County, Indiana has spent more than $250,000 of opioid settlement funds on salaries for its health director and emergency medical services staff. Money usually budgeted for those salaries were instead used to purchase an ambulance and provide extra funds for the health department. Blair County, Pennsylvania has spent $320,000 in settlement money on a drug court the county has been operating with other funds for more than 20 years.

    While national settlements do not prohibit the use of funds for initiatives already supported by other means, critics say doing so wastes the chance to direct additional resources toward saving lives. Affected families, recovery advocates and legal and public health experts say the spirit of the settlements was to provide new services, not to continue the status quo.

    The article notes that 13 states and Washington, D.C., have restricted the practice of substituting opioid settlement funds for existing funding.


    April 2024