County Opioid Advisory Committee Presents “Roadmap for Settlement Funds”
The Opioid Advisory Committee (OAC) has announced its 18-month “roadmap” for the allocation of funds Bucks County was awarded in a lawsuit against several opioid giants earlier this, Commissioner Chair Bob Harvie said.
The county sued the three major manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids in 2018 and agreed to a settlement of $45 million dollars earlier this year.
Pennsylvania District Attorney Josh Shapiro said that the state lost 5,172 people last year alone to overdoses when the settlement was announced.
OAC Chair and Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission, Inc., Executive Director Diane Rosati said the proposed uses of the funds target prevention, treatment and recovery supports, as well as project oversight and evaluation, at the Commissioners’ Meeting earlier this month.
The Opioid Advisory Commission was announced and formed in May of this year and includes members of the Bucks County community representing different geographic areas who have backgrounds in human services, substance abuse prevention and public safety, and who have experience working with other affected groups, like veterans.
A key proposal in the “road map” is for a behavioral health crisis center to be constructed by on the ground of Doylestown Hospital. Plans are being developed in partnership with the county, law enforcement and provider partners, Rosati said, with an initial proposed commitment of $900,000 in settlement funds for a sketch design to be generated .
According to county records and recent comments made by officials the new center will be managed by Lenape Valley Foundation (LVF) along with various mental health/substance abuse service providers.
LVF CEO Sharon Curran told the Bucks County Courier Times it is a great collaborative project in which we’re staring from scratch. Curran said grants from several funding streams are being sought for the development of the Behavioral Health Care Center.
The OAC will continue to provide advice on use of settlement funds, of which the county expects to receive about $45 million over 18 years. .
Other highlights of the OAC report will be establishing transportation mechanisms to and from treatment services those seeking recovery services. Expanding recovery housing by ensuring that residents with financial barriers have access to licensed, safe, supportive recovery housing. Will provide per diem funding in recovery houses as well as lease arrangements, as well as an incentive for house owners who have applied for licensure and would be admitted to BC-ROC and BCDAC, Inc. netwot and a warm handoff effort for those surviving overdoses.
“This is a great roadmap for the county to follow over the next 18 months,” said Commissioner Harvie, who created the committee in the spring to give recommendations on uses of the settlement funds.
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