Opioid addiction treatment, prevention fund proposed

The Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony Feb. 13 on a bill that would create a mechanism to fund treatment and prevention of opioid addiction.

Sen. Sara Howard
Sen. Sara Howard

LB1124, introduced by Omaha Sen. Sara Howard, would create the Nebraska Opioid Recovery Fund as the repository of any money that the state may receive from a federal Department of Justice lawsuit against opioid manufacturers accused of deceptive advertising.

The bill also would require the state Department of Health and Human Services to report annually to the Legislature, governor and attorney general regarding how funds were distributed and the outcomes achieved.

Howard said the state has not received any money from the lawsuit yet, but she expects multiple future payments.

“This is important enough that we should consider it this year,” she said.

Lynn Rex of the League of Nebraska Municipalities spoke in support of the bill. She said it is “a matter of when and not if” Nebraska will receive settlement money.

“We think it is critically important and we think Nebraska should be positioned so that when these funds come in there is a place to put them,” Rex said.

Joshua Shasserre of the Nebraska attorney general’s office also supported LB1124. Settlement negotiations are ongoing, he said, and it is possible that Nebraska could receive settlement money later this year.

No one testified in opposition to the bill and the committee took no immediate action on it.

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