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Opioid settlement distribution plan approved by El Paso County to battle opioid epidemic

<i>Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>This illustration image shows tablets of opioid painkiller Oxycodon delivered on medical prescription taken on September 18
AFP/Getty Images
Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images
This illustration image shows tablets of opioid painkiller Oxycodon delivered on medical prescription taken on September 18

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO)-- County Commissioners have signed on the Colorado Opioids Settlement Memorandum of Understanding "Colorado MOU" with the state Attorney General's office. The Colorado MOU outlines how the state will receive and distribute settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors for contributing to the opioid epidemic across the nation, according to El Paso County officials. Under the agreement, settlement money will be used to benefit citizens of El Paso County, in accordance with the Colorado MOU.

The opioid epidemic has devastated communities across the nation,” said El Paso County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez, Jr.  “The Colorado MOU is a gateway to funding that will open the door to education and treatment for those struggling with addiction across El Paso County, thereby saving lives."

The State of Colorado is expected to receive over $300 million if at least 95% of local governments with a population of 10,000 or more sign on to the Colorado MOU. Under the Colorado MOU, 20% of all funds received will be directly distributed to all participating local governments in Colorado over a period of 18 years.  El Paso County is expected to receive approximately 18.41% of that funding stream to be used to opioid abatement purposes, according to a press release from the county.

Initial estimates show Colorado receiving excess of $300 million, El Paso County anticipates receiving approximately $100,000 a year as direct local government payments, and approximately $1.0 to $1.6 million a year as the El Paso/Teller region.  However, these numbers are subject to change based on the final and actual amount the State of Colorado receives as part of the settlement. Local governments in El Paso and Teller counties anticipate forming a Regional Abatement Council to ensure that opioid funds are distributed according to the Colorado MOU.

The State Attorney General has asked all participating local governments to execute and return the Colorado MOU by November 5, 2021.  It is anticipated that, if the settlement is successful, the State of Colorado could start seeing funds as soon as July of 2022.

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Aubry Tucker

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