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State Senate approves opioid settlement framework package

Courtesy frankieleon
Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Senate passed a bill package Thursday outlining how the state should handle an influx of opioid settlement cash.

The state predicts $776 million from a multi-state lawsuit should start coming into Michigan between late spring and summer.

Senator Mark Huizenga (R-Walker) said it's important the state has a deliberative process for handling that money.

“That’s going to ensure that these dollars are spent wisely, that they’re spent to help people in the right place. I think we’ve seen in the past that other settlements haven’t always been deliberate, and I think that’s — putting those dollars towards those that need it the most right now is important,” Huizenga said.

The legislation would create the Michigan Opioid Healing and Recovery Fund to receive the state’s settlement proceeds.

A new Opioid Advisory Commission would look at various initiatives to recommend where to spend that money.

The commission would include various experts appointed by legislative leadership. The governor and attorney general would also have input.

The bills each passed the Senate with unanimous support and now head to the House of Representatives.

Huizenga said he hopes to see the money allocated quickly.

“We all know that the crisis has been ongoing for quite some time now. Knowing that there are dollars that can go to help these people is important. But creating a body to ensure that the dollars are spent intentionally will have a good resolution,” he said.

All three bills in the package passed the Senate with unanimous support.

“This legislation means Michigan families impacted by the devastating opioid epidemic will get some semblance of relief. These funds will bring millions of dollars to treat opioid use disorder, and support our neighbors, family, and friends in treatment and recovery,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a written press release following the bills’ passage.

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