McKinley Introduces Bipartisan Legislation To Ensure Opioid Settlement Funds Are Not Wasted

Bill requires states to use funding received from opioid settlements on opioid prevention, treatment, education, and enforcement

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va.) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) introduced the Opioid Settlement Accountability Act. This bipartisan legislation ensures the funds that states receive from opioid settlements are used to combat the epidemic. More specifically this bill ensures these funds go towards opioid treatment, prevention, education, and enforcement.

“Pharmaceutical companies played a central role in creating the opioid epidemic and making it worse, and they are rightly being held accountable in the courts for the damage they unleased on communities across the country,” said McKinley. “The tens of billions of dollars being paid out in settlements should be used to rehabilitate and support the people and communities that were affected.”

“We should learn our lesson from the tobacco settlements in the 1990s. Many states used money they received for transportation projects and balancing budgets instead of prevention efforts,” added McKinley. “We must not repeat the same mistakes. These funds must be used to help fight the epidemic and not as a slush fund for politicians. Our legislation will serve as a guardrail, ensuring money from settlements related to the opioid crisis are used for treatment, prevention, education and enforcement.”

“As the opioids litigation settlements are determined, the federal government must assure Medicaid-related dollars are directed and allocated to explicitly fund efforts to curb this tragic crisis. This legislation would ensure accountability of the opioids settlement money recouped from pharmaceutical companies and drug distributors and protect the funding from being used for other matters,” said Kaptur. “In communities like those in Ohio and West Virginia, where the opioids crisis has destroyed so many lives, settlement funds must be allocated to include treatment and social support services that help prevent further opioid misuse and substance abuse.”

Background:

The legislation outlines that the funds can be used:

  • To support treatment and health care services for opioid treatment programs.
  • For education related to opioid use disorder.
  • To implement prevention strategies which includes educating our doctors and nurses about non-opioid pain management strategies.
  • To train health care professionals on best practices for pain management.
  • To support for State and Federal law enforcement actions and first responder capital equipment related to the illegal distribution of opioids and opioid analogues.
  • For any other public health-related activities and social support services which includes housing, employment, child-well being, criminal justice and emergency management

Read the full bill text here.

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