Idaho Springs City Council approved a resolution last week to receive funds from an opioid class action lawsuit affecting multiple local and state governments across the country, as well as sign onto the Opioid Region 10 Intergovernmental Agreement.
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Signing onto the IGA allows the city to contribute its funds, along with multiple other local governments, to the Region 10 Council to “prioritize regionalism and collaboration in the creation of abatement policies to address the opioid pandemic,” according to Assistant City Administrator Jonathan Cain. The counties involved include Jefferson, Clear Creek and Gilpin.
The settlement itself was the result of a coalition of state attorneys general around the nation reaching a $26 billion agreement with Johnson & Johnson and two other large manufacturers of opioids in the United States who are seen as largely contributing to the nation’s opioid crisis.
Of that settlement, Colorado will receive about $3.85 million, with 20% of the funds distributed directly to some local governments — including Idaho Springs — and 60% going to different regions. In total, Idaho Springs is set to receive about $10,000. Cain highlights how these funds are for “specific abatement strategies, like building a mental health facility to work on opioid issues,” and not for uses like buying Narcan, an opioid overdose treatment.
Jefferson County will be the fiscal agent for the regional group of counties.
“By us participating in this regional council, that means we probably can bring services closer to Clear Creek County,” Cain said in the council’s work session.
“It’s not about intervention, it’s not going towards public safety, but towards treating opioid use disorder,” he continued. “It has the potential to change because there’s been a lot of talk about that, especially from public safety officers in the field.”
Moving to approve the resolution included, specifically, opting into the three current opioid settlements, entering the IGA to help form and participate in the Region 10 Opioid Council and designating the money to be received by Idaho Springs for use by the Regional Council.
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