Commissioners Approve $1.8M in Opioid Settlement Fund Spending
The Bucks County Commissioners last week allocated $1.8 million in Opioid Settlement Funds toward efforts to remediate the opioid epidemic.
Passed in unanimous votes during the Commissioners’ Aug. 16 public meeting, the approved resolutions included more than $360,000 for expanded Narcan (naloxone) distribution, distribution of fentanyl test strips and continued funding of the Human Services Co-Responders Program.
These funds are really in honor of and recognition of all the folks who’ve been lost to opioids,” said Bucks County Drug and Alcohol, Inc., (BCDAC) Executive Director Diane Rosati. “We want to make sure that we make that point.”
In the meeting’s largest allocation of opioid settlement funds, the Commissioners approved the transfer of $1.4 million to BCDAC to be awarded as grants to providers.
BCDAC plans to use the money to fund a raft of measures, including a program to extend the length of treatment for people working toward recovery, prevention programs for children, expanding warm handoff programs, peer support and case management, and improved online access to resources for families.
“These contracts that are on agenda today are critical to getting these contracts fully executed, and the money into the hands of providers so we can start making an impact in the community,” said Shannon Kirby, program manager for the County’s Opioid Settlement Fund.
Funds for these programs come from the recent settlement of national litigation through which communities nationwide sought to hold opioid manufacturers and distributors accountable for their roles in fueling the epidemic of opioid addiction.
Bucks County began receiving payments as part of the settlement agreement in 2022 and expects to receive some $45 million over 18 years.
A roadmap and how to use the funds and the types of opioid related treatment efforts was published earlier this year. A key proposal in the “road map” is for a behavioral health crisis center to be constructed on the grounds of Doylestown Hospital.
The terms of the settlement require that these funds be used to fight the opioid crisis.