EL PASO COUNTY — On Tuesday, El Paso County Commissioners approved a Colorado Opioids Settlement Memorandum of Understanding (Colorado MOU) with the state's Attorney General's Office regarding a recent settlement over opioids.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser signed the Colorado MOU in August which outlines how the state would receive and distribute settlements with opioid manufacturers for contributing to America's opioid crisis. County Commissioners understand the impact the crisis has had not only nationally but in the local community. As a result, settlement funds will be used for the benefit of the citizens of El Paso County in accordance with the purposes specified in the Colorado MOU.
"The opioid epidemic has devastated communities across the nation," County Commissioner, Longinos Gonzalez, Jr, said. "The Colorado MOU is a gateway to funding that will open the door to education and treatment for those struggling with addiction across El Paso County, thereby saving lives.
Of the $300 million that Colorado is expected to get through the settlement, 60% of all funds received will be distributed to local regions. El Paso and Teller Counties and partnering municipalities are designated as a region and are expected to receive 12.6% of these funds to use for opioid abatement purposes. El Paso and Teller counties plan to form a Regional Abatement Council to ensure that opioid funds are distributed according to the Colorado MOU. The MOU also outlines the appropriate use of funds including treatment, intervention, training, and research.
However for this settlement money to be received and distributed, at least 95% of all Colorado local governments with a population of 10,000 or greater must sign the Colorado MOU. The State Attorney General has asked all participating local governments to execute and return the Colorado MOU by November 5, 2021. The Attorney General's Office is optimistic that the state will get approved for the settlement and that the money can be distributed by July 2022.