Nebraska begins committee to distribute opioid settlement funds
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – For the past few years, Nebraska along with the rest of the nation has been fighting an opioid addiction crisis. In 2020 alone, over 68,000 people died from opioid overdoses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
“This is obviously a national problem. So, Nebraska has the opportunity to tap into some of those national treatment models that may best work here,” Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said.
In 2020, Nebraska along with other states announced two opioid settlements with major pharmaceutical distributors that equaled around $26 billion. Nebraska got around $100 million from the settlement that the state is now working to put to good use.
“Certainly, I know the opportunity to serve people differently and innovatively with some of these dollars will be welcome,” Sheri Dawson with Nebraska DHHS said, “There’s some needs and gaps in the system and we want folks to have access to treatment.”
On Monday, the first-ever committee meeting for The Nebraska Opioid Settlement Remediation Advisory Committee took place. It brought together experts from across the state who offer unique and detailed experiences that will help in tackling the epidemic.
“People don’t know but the state patrol is the only full-time agency in the state that has full-time employees dedicated to pharmaceutical diversion and the opioid crisis.” Capt. Jason Scott with the Nebraska State patrol said, “So, I’m keenly aware of what’s going on there.”
Over the next few months, the committee will overlook data collected in the state to identify where the millions of dollars need to go.