A committee of the Virginia Opioid Abatement Authority (OAA) voted on December 4 to award more than $470,000 in grants to 10 Virginia cities and counties, including Botetourt, for opioid abatement and remediation efforts.
Nine of the 10 awards will support planning efforts for the recipient localities to identify community-specific needs, gaps, and possible solutions to the opioid crisis.
Senator Todd Pillion, chairman of the OAA, said, “we encourage localities to carefully evaluate how to best use their opioid settlement funds at the local level, and the OAA’s planning grants are an important tool to help them do exactly that.” Recipients are required as a condition of the grant to publish the resulting plan, and to use that plan to explain and justify future OAA grant applications. “We are talking about opioid settlements coming to Virginia every year for 18 years, and so we recommend communities have a road map in place for how it will use those funds to save lives,” said Pillion.
Five localities were provided planning grants of $50,000 each: Botetourt, Patrick, and Warren Counties, and the cities of Colonial Heights and Salem. The counties of Prince Edward, Buckingham, and Cumberland were jointly provided a planning grant for $50,000 that will be administered by Prince Edward. In each case the recipient localities committed to provide a 10 percent match.
About Opioid Settlements and the OAA:
Virginia expects to receive a total of approximately $1.1 billion from litigation against manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies that were alleged to have contributed to the opioid crisis. Payments from these settlements and bankruptcies began in 2022 and are expected to conclude by 2041.
The OAA was established by the General Assembly in 2021 to oversee the distribution of 55% of Virginia’s total settlement funds. Of the remainder, 30% is distributed directly to cities and counties, and the remaining 15% to the Commonwealth. The use of funds is restricted by court orders and state statute, with the restrictions aiming for the funds to be used for opioid abatement efforts.
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