Casper Agrees to Opioid Settlement, Will Consider Abatement Strategies
At the Casper city council meeting on Tuesday, council agreed to a settlement for compensating Wyoming and its counties for the opioid epidemic.
The settlement agreement includes various exhibits that outline ways that Casper could use the funding from the case to prevent future opioid issues.
Those strategies are under several categories such as treating opioid use disorder, connecting people to the help they need, address the needs of 'criminal justice involved persons,' address the needs of pregnant or to be pregnant women, support people in treatment and reduce stigma, prevent overprescribing opioids, prevent misuse of opioids, prevent overdose deaths, along with several other strategies.
Under each of those strategies, there are several options for Casper to consider, including scholarships for addiction counselors, create school contacts for parents of children in need of treatment, get people who have received naloxone into treatment programs, child and family support for parents with opioid use disorder, and train health care providers on proper opioid prescriptions.
Council member Shawn Johnson said he believes it's unfair pharmaceutical companies are taking on majority liability for the case and that the government isn't also at fault for being a part of the approval process for various opioids.
John Henley, city attorney for Casper, said they believe that the city will have the first year's settlement allotment available to be used by the next fiscal year, with the Casper council deciding how to allocate the money and what kind of opioid abatement programs to support.
The settlement involves an agreement with Wyoming, most counties and cities in the state, and various opioid manufacturer's, like Johnson and Johnson, to distribute $52 million over 18 years, with Casper getting $2,484,300 over that same period.
According to the settlement, Casper has to inform the state's attorney general on January 31 every year on what the city has used the settlement money for.