The OneOhio opioid settlement is harm reduction friendly…

…even if the board controlling money is not.

The attached 15-page list describes what opioid settlement money can be spent on. It’s worth reading.

No. 1 on the list of approved uses is the distribution of naloxone. Harm Reduction Ohio is the largest and lowest-cost distributor of naloxone in Ohio. A competent opioid settlement board would partner with the non-profit that represents the impacted population and is doing what’s on top of the board’s “to do” list. Well, rather than a competent OneOhio effort, our state has been given a …  shipwreck of government at its least competent.

We all know the opioid settlement has gone horribly off track in Ohio. (Read about the clueless, racially biased, secrecy-obsessed wreck that our state’s settlement has become here, here and here.)

But here’s why you should be optimistic anyway!

The agreement itself, as designed and written, is pretty darn good. Ohio’s problem is execution, not the agreement itself. The core problem is that the OneOhio government board, which overseeing most settlement spending, thinks it’s a private club that doesn’t have to follow the settlement agreement.  (Harm Reduction Ohio has sued the OneOhio Recovery Foundation to force it to comply with the opioid settlement agreement and Ohio’s public records and open meetings laws.)

Ohioans can still hope that courts and public pressure, especially from families harmed by opioids, can force the OneOhio board to (a) do what the settlement agreement requires, and (b) welcome the impacted population to the table as a partner.  

Be heartened by this: The list of how opioid settlement money can be spent is thoughtful and comprehensive. The effort by state and local officials to turn settlement money into a secret slush fund is a sign of dysfunctional government, not an inherently bad agreement.

So please read the agreement!  A reminder: 55% of opioid settlement money goes into the shipwreck that is the OneOhio foundation; 30% goes directly to local governments (results uncertain); 15% goes directly to state government (results uncertain). All settlement funds — regardless of who gets it — must (in theory) be used for what’s on this list:

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