On Friday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy unveiled legislation aimed at addressing the opioid addiction crisis in Alaska. His bill introduces two state funds: the Opioid Settlement Investment Fund and the Opioid Remediation Fund.
With approximately $53 million already secured from opioid lawsuits and an anticipated $30 million in settlements, Senate Bill 133 enables the state to separate these funds for opioid remediation efforts and with the earnings generate ongoing revenue for long-term solutions.
The Opioid Settlement Investment Fund is designed to accumulate and leverage funds received from current and anticipated opioid settlement agreements, providing a sustainable and long-term supply of resources to address the impacts and prevent further continuation of the opioid epidemic.
The Alaska Department of Revenue would be responsible for investing funds received from settlement agreements, while allowing for annual appropriations from the fund to support opioid addiction remediation efforts in the state, utilizing a percent-of-market-value approach to ensure ongoing support for future generations. It would be similar to how the POMV approach is used to calculate state spending allowed from the Permanent Fund.
The Opioid Remediation Fund will grant authority to the Alaska Department of Health to utilize funds from that fund without additional legislative appropriation, specifically for opioid addiction treatment, recovery, remediation, and education. The fund will primarily be funded by appropriations from the other remediation fund, as determined by the Alaska Legislature.
Dunleavy expressed optimism that these two funds would provide sustainable and long-term solutions to combat opioid addiction in Alaska, benefiting all Alaskans, both present and future.
“Opioid addiction is a generational problem,” Dunleavy said. “Through this bill, we are empowering ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren for success in remediating opioid addiction in the state. Providing sustainable, long-term funding will ensure the money the state receives from the opioid settlement agreements used to benefit all Alaskans, present and future.”