NORWALK, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Awards for Excellence in the Application of the Opioid Litigation Principles were presented today to the states of North Carolina and Rhode Island. The awards recognize jurisdictions that demonstrated distinction in incorporating the opioid litigation principles as part of their thoughtful, strategic approach to the use of the National Opioid Settlement funds.
The principles were created as a guide to help jurisdictions determine how to spend the Opioid Settlement Funds and save the most lives. Organizations that contributed to creating the principles include Shatterproof, a national nonprofit dedicated to ending the addiction crisis, and faculty and staff from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who have supported implementation. The principles have been endorsed by more than 60 organizations. The principles include spending settlement money to save lives, using evidence to guide spending, investing in youth prevention, focusing on racial equity, and developing a fair and transparent process for deciding where to spend funds.
"The achievements of North Carolina and Rhode Island in utilizing funds from the opioid settlements are commendable,” said Kristen Pendergrass, vice president of state policy for Shatterproof, an endorser of the principles. “Their adherence to the principles is a testament to their commitment to evidence-based solutions that prioritize the health and well-being of their communities."
North Carolina’s Approach to Incorporating the Principles
North Carolina uses evidence-based education and treatment strategies to save lives and guide spending through the NC Memorandum of Agreement. North Carolina’s strategies were developed in consultation with the NC Department of Health and Human Services and other state and national experts. They were informed by national resources on evidence-based strategies to address the opioid epidemic and North Carolina’s Opioid and Substance Use Action Plan.
The strategies include evidence-based addiction treatment, recovery support and housing services, naloxone distribution, syringe service programs, and addiction treatment for people with criminal backgrounds. These services were developed through a collaboration between the NC Department of Justice, the NC Association of County Commissioners, the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center, private philanthropy, and many other partners.
“The best way to turn the tide on the opioid crisis is to make sure we are delivering help to the people who need it,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’m grateful for all of the hard work of my team, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, and the thousands of people across the state who are committed to getting this urgent work right. I’m proud that North Carolina was honored in this way, and I look forward to our continuing to set a standard for the rest of the nation.”
Rhode Island’s Approach to Incorporating the Principles
In Rhode Island, the Opioid Settlement Advisory Committee (OSAC) was formed as an 18-member committee to provide advisory recommendations to the Secretary of the RI Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) on spending opioid settlement resources. The OSAC makes its funding recommendations based on an enhanced version of the principles centering on racial equality. The committee works in partnership with the RI Governor’s Overdose Task Force and provides evidenced-based information and recommendations for the consideration of the OSAC.
For SFY ’23 and SFY ’24, the OSAC recommended funding under the major pillars of the Governor’s Task Force: Harm Reduction, Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention, as well as additional dollars to support social determinants of health, with emphasis on a housing-first model and project governance. The OSAC adopted the five principles and added a sixth principle to consider sustainability in all recommendations. OSAC has brought the principles to life by prioritizing harm reduction investments, using evidence to guide spending and fund interventions in school and out-of-school settings, focusing efforts on racial equity, and developing a fair and transparent process for funding recommendations.
"We are honored to accept the Award for Excellence in the Application of the Opioid Litigation Principles, acknowledging Rhode Island's unwavering commitment to addressing the opioid crisis head-on,” said Ana Novais, Assistant Secretary of the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services. “This award is a testament to the collaborative spirit and dedication of our state agencies, local partners, healthcare providers, and passionate advocates who have worked tirelessly to combat the opioid epidemic. Together, we have been able to implement impactful initiatives that save lives, reduce harm, and promote lasting recovery.”
Additional details about the announcement can be found at:
Additional details about the awards given to North Carolina and the Rhode Island can be found at https://opioidprinciples.jhsph.edu/updates/
Awards for state and local entities that apply the principles in exemplary and innovative ways will be awarded quarterly. Questions about the principles can be directed to email@example.com. More information can also be found on Twitter: @OpLitPrinciples
ABOUT THE AWARDS:
The awards were established by a coalition of more than 60 organizations and individuals across the substance use field who work in partnership to provide updates on the litigation, related legislation, and state and local implementation strategies. The award recipients were selected by a number of the Principles’ endorsing organizations, including representatives from Bloomberg School, Shatterproof, Yale Program of Addiction Medicine, SpiritWorks Foundation, the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, and Partnership to End Addiction.