Four County Region Closer To Spending Opioid Settlement Money
Commissioners in Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan and Grant counties are getting closer to divvying up their share of the state's $500 million settlement with opioid manufacturers.
Chelan County Commissioner Kevin Overbay is leading an effort to establish an Opioid Abatement Council, which is required under stipulations in the settlement.
Overbay says getting the Council together will be a major step forward.
"Once we have the establishment of the council, then we can start to look at what we want to do with that opioid funding piece with regard to the sideboards that were part of the settlement agreement," said Overbay.
Overbay made changes to a draft document from the Chelan County Prosecuting Attorney's office on the formation of an Abatement Council.
He then met with the three other county commissioners involved in the process - Grant County Commissioner Danny Stone, Okanogan County Commissioner Chris Branch and Douglas County Commissioner Marc Straub - to discuss the draft document.
Overbay said there's agreement among them on the structure for the Abatement Council.
"We got some very clear direction and came to some very clear agreements," Overbay said. "So, we can almost say that we have a tentative agreement with regards to how we'll set that particular piece up."
Ovebay said they would then be reaching out to the three cities in the region that'll receive opioid settlement money - Wenatchee, East Wenatchee and Moses Lake - once the counties formally agree on the Abatement Council.
The four-county region is receiving $273,000 annually over the next 18 years, and the Abatement Council will be instrumental in determining how those funds will be spend in each part of the region.
There are two more large settlements currently in the works which could bring even more money for combating opioid addiction in North Central Washington, including one with the drug's distributors worth an estimated $440 million.