Local spending plans of opioid settlement yet to come

Published 7:26 am Tuesday, February 1, 2022

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In one of his final days in office, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced that 100% of required Virginia localities and stakeholders had agreed to the $26 billion settlement framework that he and his colleagues negotiated against opioid distributors and Johnson & Johnson. 

Michael W. Johnson

As the Jan. 10 press release from the Office of the Attorney General continued, it noted that because of this 100% commitment, the commonwealth of Virginia would receive the maximum amount of money available to state and local governments as quickly as possible. The commonwealth’s share is expected to be approximately $530 million for state and local governments, though the total would have been significantly reduced and the timeframe extended if even one locality had opted-out of the framework. 

Virginia is one of the first states to secure 100% voluntary participation from local stakeholders, and the majority of the funds will be deposited into the Virginia Opioid Abatement Authority to fund opioid abuse prevention, education, treatment and recovery efforts, the release stated.

Southampton County Administrator Michael W. Johnson noted in a Jan. 18 email that the county’s Board of Supervisors resolved to opt into the settlement at its November 2021 meeting.

He stated that of the $530 million coming to Virginia, 15% is set aside for direct payments to political subdivisions, and that percentage equates to $79.5 million. Of that, Southampton County’s share is 0.137%, or roughly $109,000, to be paid over an 18-year period.  

“Use of the proceeds is limited to opioid remediation efforts, more specifically, efforts to treat, prevent or reduce opioid misuse,” he stated. “At this writing, the county has not yet made any specific plans regarding their use.”

Amanda C. Jarratt

Franklin City Manager Amanda C. Jarratt said the agreement that was approved at the October 2021 Franklin City Council meeting indicated that the city will receive 0.079% of the funding allocated to localities.  

This percentage equates to about $62,800.

“We have not received a final award letter,” she stated in a Jan. 24 email. “Once we do, we will take that under review to ensure that we develop a plan that is in compliance with the settlement agreement and seeks to stem further issues associated with the opioid crisis.”

When asked what share of the opioid settlement will go to the town of Windsor, Windsor Town Manager William Saunders stated in a Jan. 18 email, “I am not aware of any funds from this settlement that the town of Windsor will receive directly.”