Maine’s Attorney General says the state has reached an agreement with municipalities, counties, and school districts on how to disburse funds from a national settlement with opioid distributors and manufacturers. It could funnel up to $130 million into the state over the next 18 years to help respond to the opioid crisis.
The agreement allocates the settlement funds into three buckets. Twenty percent will go to the state, through the Attorney General’s office. Thirty percent will go to 39 Maine municipalities that sued opioid manufacturers and distributors or that have more than 10-thousand residents. And 50% will go into a new Recovery Fund that will be overseen by a council of stakeholders that include local and state officials as well as members of the recovery community, who will decide how to distribute the money.
“Having that Recovery Council advising around the spending of that is a smart move and I think it is an imperative move to make sure that we are spending it where it’s going to be most effective,” says Malory Shaughnessy, the executive director of the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services in Maine.
Though Shaughnessy supports how the funds will be distributed, she says the overall amount Maine will receive – $130 million over 18 years – is not enough to mitigate the effects of the opioid epidemic.
“It’s an augmentation. It is not going to supplant and take the place of the extra money the state needs to put into this,” she says.