/ Community Health

The Opioid Abatement Authority (OAA) was established by the Virginia General Assembly in 2021 as an independent entity to abate and remediate the opioid epidemic in the Commonwealth through financial support from the Virginia Opioid Abatement Fund in the form of grants, donations, or other assistance, for efforts to treat, prevent, and reduce opioid use disorder and the misuse of opioids in the Commonwealth.

Financial assistance offered through the OAA consists of settlement funds paid to Virginia by prescription opioid manufacturers and companies in the prescription opioid distribution network. As these settlement agreements were being negotiated and finalized in 2020-2021, the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia worked with attorneys representing cities and counties and various statewide organizations to negotiate Virginia’s memorandum of understanding (MOU), which establishes an allocation plan for opioid settlements within the Commonwealth. The MOU includes a formula for distributing the proceeds of opioid settlements based on a measure of harm per capita to communities across Virginia. All 133 counties and cities in the Commonwealth signed this MOU.  

The distribution of opioid settlement funds in Virginia is governed by (1) the specific agreement(s) with the settling companies (and incorporated in a Virginia court order) and in accordance with (2) the statewide MOU and (3) the statute establishing the Opioid Abatement Fund and the Opioid Abatement Authority.

The localities of the New River Valley have come together with technical assistance from the NRVRC to develop a competitive proposal for the OAA funds. In addition to local governmental representatives, regional organizations and service providers were invited to seven information gathering meetings to build a region-specific focus on both asset enhancement and need address in the area of opioid abatement. This multi-pronged, intentionally integrated purpose of this proposal is to assess and provide immediate and prolonged services and evaluation to address the impact of opioid misuse in our region. The work will begin in year 1 with pilot programs and assessments with reflexive and continuous evaluation to adjust processes and build understanding and trust across the community for the integrity and value of the work. As evidence of success is documented and community support and trust built, appropriately developed pilot projects will be expanded and scaled to include the full geography and populations of the region.

For more information, contact Holly Lesko (hlesko@nrvrc.org)