Guidance for Municipalities Utilizing Opioid Settlement Abatement Payments

This site will provide information from the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services on the background, helpful considerations and further resources for municipalities participating in the Opioid Abatement Settlement.

Table of Contents

Announcements

BSAS currently has a procurement posted for a Municipal Abatement Technical Assistance and Data Collection vendor. Proposals are due to BSAS by 1/9/2023 at 4pm. For more information please go to: https://www.commbuys.com/bso/external/bidDetail.sdo?docId=BD-23-1031-BSAS0-BSA01-81962&external=true&parentUrl=close

Statewide Opioid Settlement Recoveries

In July 2021, the Massachusetts Attorney General announced the state’s participation in a $26 billion nationwide resolution with opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal and McKesson and opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, resolving claims that those companies engaged in misconduct that enabled and perpetuated vast increases in opioid over-dispensing and diversion in Massachusetts. The resolutions are expected to bring more than $525 million into Massachusetts for prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery.

Under the terms of a State-Subdivision Agreement (PDF) reached by the state and its municipalities and entered by a Massachusetts state court, 40% of the Massachusetts recoveries will be allocated to Massachusetts municipalities, 60% of the Massachusetts recoveries will be allocated to the statewide Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund, and all the recoveries must be used to fund prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery programs.

For more information about the Statewide Opioid Settlements, including copies of the agreements, charts reflecting anticipated payments, and answers to FAQs, visit the AG’s website.

Visit the statewide Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund and Advisory Council website for more information.

Guidelines for Expenditure of Municipal Opioid Settlement Recoveries

The State-Subdivision Agreement (PDF) provides a broad list of the abatement strategies (PDF) municipalities can fund using opioid settlement recoveries and useful guidelines regarding their expenditure.

Plans municipalities develop to expend municipal abatement funds should:

  • Incorporate community input from those directly affected by the opiate epidemic.
  • Address service disparities to increase access and equity in treatment and services for OUD, prevention and harm reduction relating to opiates.
  • Leverage existing state, city, town and community opiate use disorder, mental health disorder and behavioral health disorder programming and services.

Municipalities are encouraged to innovate and collaborate in developing opioid abatement fund strategies.  The following are resources available to municipalities to support collaboration:

  • The Department of Public Health’s Office of Local and Regional Health’s Shared Service Infrastructure website.  
  • Sample Opioid Settlement Fund Inter-Municipal Agreement templates posted by the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards.
  • Inter-municipal agreements allow municipalities to pool funds to build shared abatement programs and services. Please note, these sample templates are provided as educational resources and are not legal advice, nor are they intended to constitute legal advice.

Please note that state procurement laws apply to expenditure of municipal abatement funds: please see the AG Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

For strategic guidance and other technical assistance with municipal abatement initiatives, municipalities can email DPHMuniOpioidAbatementQs@mass.gov

Statewide procurements for opioid-related programs and services

Municipalities may be eligible bidders for state procurements for opioid-related programs and services or may be able to use their municipal abatement funds to support new and existing programs and services in their communities. 

Existing Free Harm Reduction Resources for Municipalities

Bulk Purchasing of Naloxone 

  • Municipal Police and Fire Departments are welcome to order fully subsidized naloxone from the State Office of Pharmacy Services (SOPS), funded by BSAS.

Community Naloxone Purchasing Program (CNPP)

  • Organizations that work with individuals who may either witness or experience an overdose are welcome to apply to the CNPP and access fully subsidized naloxone funded by BSAS.

Fentanyl Test Strips

  • Fentanyl Test Strips are now available for free from the DPH Health Promotion Clearinghouse funded by BSAS. They are shipped out with an accompanying instructional wallet card.
  • Additional educational materials related to harm reduction and overdose prevention are also available to print or order in bulk at no cost.

Reporting Requirements for Municipalities

Starting in August 2023, all participating municipalities will be asked to submit an annual report on their FY23 Opioid Abatement Fund planning process, strategies selected, and expenditures.  Those municipalities that received $35,000.00 or more in FY23 are required to submit a report. The reporting form covers:

  • Efforts to solicit community input regarding how abatement funds should be spent from local stakeholders including people with lived experience of the opioid epidemic.
  • The abatement funds received and expended in Fiscal Year 2023.
  • The abatement strategies selected.  
  • Efforts to address service disparities and inequity in opioid use disorder treatment, prevention, harm reduction, and recovery support and to direct resources to under-served or vulnerable populations.

All reports will be submitted through a web-based reporting platform that will be released in the summer of 2023.  To support local planning and for the convenience of municipalities, please use the draft annual reporting form (PDF) l (DOCX). Questions may differ in the final version.

In order to support full transparency of the use of the opioid abatement funds, and in accordance with the State-Subdivision Agreement l (DOCX), all reports will be made public.

Municipalities must retain documentation regarding these funds and their expenditure for the longer of five years after funds are received or the period required by law.

Additional Resources

Operational Services Division Statewide Contracts

Municipalities can utilize the Operational Service Division’s (OSD) Statewide Contracts for relevant purchases and avoid the need for new procurements.

Some potential expenditures/ purchases that are available on already-procured statewide contracts include:

  • First Responder overdose emergency response equipment 
    • Naloxone is available in bulk from the State Office of Pharmacy Services (SOPS) subsidized by DPH, so does not need to be purchased separately.
  • Sharps/Syringe disposal and destruction 
  • Medication disposal and destruction

For more information on these items, please see the OSD Statewide Contract User Guides FAC110 HSP43, HSP44 and HSP41 (HSP41 will become HSP45 on JAN 1, 2023). Other statewide contracts may be relevant for Opioid-related remediation as well

Opioid Overdose Prevention and Harm Reduction

Municipal Overdose Prevention Planning Guides

Prevention and Treatment Guidance

Helplines

  • Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline
    • For Voice and hearing users, Call (800) 327–5050
    • For TTY and ASCII users, Call (800) 720–3480.
    • Or visit https://helplinema.org
  • National Crisis Hotline: 9-8-8

For questions and other technical assistance with municipal abatement initiatives, municipalities can email:

 DPHMuniOpioidAbatementQs@mass.gov

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