Board will allocate money from opioid settlements to cities and counties
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today commended members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the Senate, who voted to create the Oklahoma Opioid Abatement Board.
The board will be responsible for distributing around $25 million from settlements the attorney general reached with opioid manufacturers to eligible cities and counties. The members will develop and implement procedures for the disbursement of the funds to abate the epidemic statewide.
Attorney General Hunter said the board will promote and protect the health of Oklahomans by using the money to comprehensively abate the crisis in collaboration with communities across the state.
“I appreciate the members of the Legislature for their action on this legislation that will get money to communities devastated by the opioid crisis,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Many have been negatively affected by the epidemic. Whether it’s a family member, friend, loved one or neighbor, the disease of addiction does not discriminate. I look forward to working with the members of the board to help our fellow Oklahomans recover.”
Criteria on cities and counties eligibility is listed in the bill. To access the bill, click here.
“The board will lay the foundation that will assist communities hardest hit by the opioid epidemic,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat. “We look forward to the governor signing this bill so we can make our appointments and allow the members to begin the important work abating this problem that has claimed too many lives. I appreciate my colleagues in both chambers for prioritizing the health of Oklahomans by making this piece of legislation a priority.”
The nine member board will consist of the attorney general, or his designee, and an appointee from each of the following: the governor, the state auditor, the state treasurer and the superintendent of public instruction. The speaker of the House of Representatives and Senate pro tem will have two appointees each. The attorney general will only vote in case of a tie.
“The opioid epidemic has devastated families and communities throughout our state,” said House Speaker Charles McCall. The negative statistics are overwhelming. That is why I was heartened to see such broad support for this legislation. The board’s work will reverse these trends through evidence based opioid use prevention strategies and bring about a brighter future for the next generation of Oklahomans.”
The legislation has been sent to the governor for his signature.