- Public Health and Environment
- Assessment and Planning
- Opioid Settlement Funding
Opioid Settlement Funding
Washington County is committed to an opioid settlement funding approach that:
- Embraces a philosophy of harm reduction.
- Takes action on racial and health equity.
- Focuses on the needs of Washington County communities.
- Is grounded in evidence.
Background Information About Opioids
Opioids are a category of drugs that includes fentanyl, heroin, and prescription drugs like oxycodone.
Opioids can be used for medical purposes, most commonly to treat pain. Some people also use opioids for non-medical reasons because they can cause a pleasurable, relaxing effect.
Opioids can be dangerous when used without medical supervision, particularly due to the risk of fatal overdose. An opioid overdose can happen when someone uses too large of an amount, causing their breathing to slow or stop. Some opioids, like fentanyl, are very concentrated, making it easy to accidentally use too much which might lead to a deadly overdose.
A person who uses opioids can also develop an Opioid Use Disorder, also known as opioid addiction, which is a long-term health condition that can have a serious impact on a person’s life.
The opioid crisis is also known as the overdose crisis or the opioid epidemic. It is the worsening trend of overdose deaths across the country.
It began in the early 1990s with the over-prescription of pain medications. Today, the overdose crisis is mostly driven by fentanyl, a very strong opioid that people often use in combination with other drugs.
Any person can be negatively impacted by opioids, but the opioid crisis is currently harming some people more than others. In Minnesota, groups like communities of color, indigenous communities, and LGBTQIA+ communities are disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis. These kinds of disparities can be caused by factors like unequal access to resources and can be worsened by systemic inequity across our society’s systems.
In 2022, an agreement was reached with drug companies that were believed to have played a role in fueling the opioid crisis. The companies are required to change how they manufacture and distribute opioids. They are required to pay money to address the harm caused by the opioid crisis.
As the opioid crisis continues to impact communities, Minnesota will receive funds from the national opioid settlements to be spent on strategies that save lives by preventing overdose. Washington County’s estimated allocation of the settlement funding is more than $6.8 million spread over 18 years. The funds will be used on activities that directly address the opioid crisis—to save lives by preventing overdose through potential strategies.
See the resources below to learn more about the opioid settlements and abatement strategies.
- Fighting the Opioid Epidemic in Minnesota | Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.
Learn about Minnesota’s role in the national settlements with opioid distributors and manufacturers. See the Minnesota Opioids State-Subdivision Memorandum of Agreement for detailed information about how settlement funds are allocated across the state.
- Principles for the Use of Funds from the Opioid Litigation | Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Learn more about the five principles created to guide jurisdictions in the use of opioid settlement funds. The principles are as follows:
- Spend money to save lives.
- Use evidence to guide spending.
- Invest in youth prevention.
- Focus on racial equity.
- Develop a transparent, inclusive decision-making process.
- Harm Reduction Principles | National Harm Reduction Coalition
Washington County is committed to an opioid settlement funding approach that embraces a philosophy of harm reduction. Review the principles to learn about what it means to take a harm reduction approach and explore the Resource Center to learn about specific harm reduction strategies.
- Washington County Substance Use and Overdose Profile | Minnesota Department of Health
See the profile for key Washington County data highlights. See the Opioid Overdose Prevention page for additional data at the state and county level.
Washington County's Plan
Washington County is conducting a survey to gather input from community members and relevant professionals1 in the county2 to inform local planning for the opioid settlement funds. We especially want to hear from:
- People with lived experience related to the overdose crisis.
Examples: people who use drugs3, people with substance use disorders, people in recovery.
- Communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the opioid crisis.
Examples: communities of color, indigenous communities, LGBTQIA+ communities.
Help us by completing the survey and sharing it with others.
Survey in other languages and formats
- Printable PDF version in English: Community Input Survey (PDF).
- Haga clic aquí para realizar la encuesta de la comunidad: online version (Spanish), print/PDF version (Spanish).
- Nkag rau qhov no thiab li pom kev ntsuam xyuas zaum no: print/PDF version (Hmong).
- Riix halkan si aad u qaadato Sahanka Fikradaha Bulshada: print/PDF version (Somali).
Want to give input but don’t want to take a survey? Share your comments or ideas on this shorter version as an alternative to the full survey.
- Relevant sectors include Addiction Medicine, Board of Commissioners, Corrections, Education, Emergency Medical Services, Human Services, Law Enforcement, Legal professional, Local Municipality (city or township), Primary Care, Public Health, Recovery, Treatment, Veteran Services, and others
- Only community members and professionals with a relationship to Washington County should complete this survey. This may include living, working, receiving services, or delivering services in Washington County.
- The language we use when talking about substance use is important. It can either combat or reinforce the significant stigma people face related to using substances. In this context, we are using the term “people who use drugs” to promote a harm reduction philosophy and to be inclusive of people in a variety of situations related to substance use. The best language to use will depend on the individual and the context. It’s generally best to use descriptive language like “person who uses drugs” or “person with a substance use disorder” and avoid negative, stigmatizing terms like “addict” or “abuser.”
Opioid Settlement Planning Timeline