Chelan Co. Taking Lead on Establishing Opioid Abatement Council
Various municipalities within North Central Washington are preparing for how to allocate their share of the state's recent $500 million settlement with opioid manufacturers.
Stipulations of the settlement call for the creation of an abatement council which will oversee how each of the region's qualifying jurisdictions can spend their share of the restitution.
"Chelan County has taken the lead on this for the entire region," says Chelan County Commissioner Kevin Overbay. "We've basically got an interlocal agreement that we are now working on some details about with various entities who will represent the abatement council locally. Once we have a signed agreement with them we'll be standing up that council and we'll start getting those funds distributed so we can begin to combat the opioid crisis within our communities."
The regional settlement funds will apply to Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties, as well as the cities of Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, and Moses Lake.
Overbay says the region will receive roughly $273,000 annually over the next 18 years and the abatement council will be at the leading edge of determining how those funds will spent in each part of the region.
"Grant County could say, 'we want to utilize our funding for this purpose', while Douglas County could say, ' we want to use our funding for these purposes', but it will always need to go through the abatement council first. Then they can contract out with a third party or manage whatever funding programs they choose to install themselves."
Overbay says there are two more large settlements currently in the works which could bring even more money for combatting opioid addiction in North Central Washington, including one with the drug's distributors worth an estimated $440 million.