Senators want more standards for opioid settlement money

Lawmakers split over how to spend opioid settlement money
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 9:59 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2023 at 10:32 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV/Gray Florida Capital Bureau) - Florida state senators want to see more detailed plans on how the state is spending its $3.1 billion opioid settlement.

The money from the National Opioid Settlement with drug makers and pharmacies needs to go toward programs like substance abuse recovery, naloxone and education to fight the opioid epidemic.

“What we’ve done with the opioid settlement dollars we now received is we’ve opened access,” Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Erica Floyd-Thomas said.

Floyd-Thomas told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services Wednesday the state is splitting the money nearly evenly between state and local programs.

“It’s open-ended for the counties to create their plan to determine what’s most appropriate for the plan. The plan is submitted to the state. We don’t review those plans, but we do have access to those plans,” Floyd-Thomas said.

However, senators on the committee said they want to see the state involved in helping counties use their portion.

“We want to make sure the money that is there is being used wisely. I don’t think there are standards,” Sen. Gayle Harrell, (R) Stuart, said.

“Having a statewide approach I think is safest for those again who are really working hard towards their recovery,” Sen. Lauren Book, (D) Davie, said.

Floyd-Thomas said that’s the goal.

“The sole focus of having this united approach, this global approach to doing so,” Floyd-Thomas said.

After the initial payment, the state will gradually get less money until the final payment in 2040.