Governor addresses opioid problem with new funds, spending authority

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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.”

14 COMMENTS

  1. Here’s a novel idea. Let’s incarcerate people who commit crimes to support their meth or crack addiction. Currently in Alaska, meth heads and crack heads who commit crimes, particularly those crimes related to home break ins and vehicle theft are given a wrist slap. Even the FBI in Alaska looks the other way these people commit federal crimes.

  2. Providing long term financial support for remediation is a good idea. Now are the laws there to also lock up the criminals who are committing crimes to finance their drug habits? Put together, it should help slow the crime rates. Enforcement is definitely needed as part of the component.

  3. How about incinerate the folks that are trafficking this poison . It’s insane that our small village along the Tanana River ( Fbks) has had a dozen deaths of young kids using fentanyl the last several years . Literally a lockdown on public school system during C-19 event and not much press on Fentynal problems . Sicking in my mind . Let’s get some more Govt funds to administer by the government that’s really not doing very good job stopping the trafficking of fentanyl. Like giving money to the city government to stop the homeless problem that they have created the homeless problem by not enforcing vagrancy laws , or basically just illegal camping laws !

    • How about this tanana villages parents and relatives read-aloud to and with their surviving children. You know what alaska’s dead youth were looking for -something or someone- to bond with and what they bonded with was a drug. Now reading aloud and regularly starting when baby is in the mother’s womb is the cheapest and surest way to build a generation’s resistence against the pressure making a bond to any addiction.

  4. Like any good liberal, the Cowardly Lion throws money at the problem instead of trying to solve it.

    I used to think the most disappointing vote I ever cast was Bush 41. Spineless in Alaska has blown that out of the water.

    Why is the AK GOP in free fall and not competitive on a statewide level? Look at its useless standard bearer.

  5. Great ideas! Don’t let the money go into administration or special committees but into the areas that are necessary to fund law enforcement, caseworkers for OCS, caseworkers for ICWA, the necessary resources that will help cure the problems many Alaskans are facing. Utilize organizations like Love Justice International and their volunteers at the Anchorage airport.

    Opioid, alcohol, cocaine, marijuana addictions, domestic violence, sexual workplace harassment, human sex trafficking, federal fraud, OCS, etc. There are many generational problems here in Alaska that need to be addressed. Legislators, Judges, FBI, OCS workers, law enforcement officers need to address the problems and not cover-up the elephant in the room, retaliate against the victim or the person bringing forth the complaint. Many victims here in Alaska live in fear of financial loss, loss of their children and/or family, retaliation, local police not following the law within a city and/or village, etc.

    I heard testimony in the House Judiciary Committee meeting on March 13, 2023 that law enforcement needs to be increased. I heard testimony from an individual who was trafficked and needed help…police did nothing.

    I heard testimony on February 14, 2023 in the House Health & Social Services Committee meeting that OCS has a lot of inter-department problems. Is OCS funded properly and equipped with the necessary workers to protect the best interest of our children and keep families together? Thorough investigations, follow the policies and procedures, and follow the Alaska Statutes. For our children and families, there are remedies within the Alaska Statutes if the Judge will use them in the best interest of the children and keeping families together.

    Is the Department of Law equipped to handle a complaint about a domestic violence or a sexual workplace harassment complaint? Many Alaskans are fortunate to have three layers of jurisdiction protection which are federal, state and tribal. Federal dollars flow into Alaska by the millions through many different funding sources to the great State of Alaska.

    Addressing the root of the problem, identify the remedy and putting the remedy (plan) into action will eventually result in positive and healthy lifestyle changes for Alaskans.

    Every Alaskan needs to feel safe and be kept safe. Every Alaskan needs to have their Alaska Constitutional rights protected, especially our children.

  6. We really have the capability to stop these drugs from entering our state and especially the bush communities. A portion of the settlement should be set aside for a task force. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But of course the most important first step is to dedicate these funds to the problem, unlike the Covid funds.

    • I once asked a pilot why when he knew boxes were going into a dry village and when you set them down you could hear the glass bottles rattling, why he delivered that into the village. He said it was his job to do so and it’s not his job to police the contents. He may be right, but where were the state police? I guess Alaska needs funding for state police and drug dogs to be at every major hub and confiscate and arrest those perpetrators.

      • If we had a tiny portion of the drug enforcement that occurs at our southern border at our two international aviation hubs (DEA), and increased state troopers with dogs at the domestic side, the supply chain would be highly affected. We made it work 30 years ago and it can work better with our new technology.

  7. You know that. If more Alaskan parents just Read Aloud to and with their children from birth to 18 that is good quality literature and poetry the kind our own grandparents and great grandparents would had read aloud to thier children. We could dramatically decrease our drug epidemic if parents and relatives just read-aloud to their children including them investing in beneficial extra private education i.e music, art, and athletic instruction.

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