Arapahoe County and its municipalities launched a new, coordinated approach to address the opioid crisis, leveraging long-term funding for prevention, treatment and harm reduction efforts within the community.
This collaborative effort stems from the nationwide settlements that were recently reached with the “Big 3” opioid distributors (McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen), along with Johnson & Johnson, to resolve claims by state and local governments about the extent to which these companies contributed to the opioid epidemic.
Local governments within Arapahoe County have formed a Regional Council, consistent with the Colorado Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which prioritizes regionalism, collaboration and abatement to address how the global opioid crisis is impacting local communities and determine how to implement approximately $400 million statewide. Known as Region 9 within the state’s framework, the new Arapahoe County Regional Council mirrors the borders of County and is comprised of elected and local leaders. Each region receives a funding allocation, as do individual participating local governments.
The mission of the Regional Council is to:
- Set up a two-year plan to begin to allocate Region 9’s share of opioid settlement funds – approximately $25 million over an 18-year period
- Ensure that the funds are being used in the most accountable and fiscally responsible way
- Continue to support and address gaps in the existing social safety net; and
- Support local nonprofits and new and existing programs and initiatives
Each participating community has approved an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that will inform the Council’s operations.
“The settlement amounts, and the regional approach to allocating the funds, benefits local governments by taking a bottom-up approach that recognizes and addresses the needs at the local level,” said Arapahoe County District 1 Commissioner Carrie Warren-Gully. “This approach also will help inform results assessments based on gathering data around who is being served, which will enable the Council to make program tweaks as needed.”
Arapahoe County is playing a critical leadership role as the designated fiscal agent for Region 9 and serving as the convener for this collaborative, regional effort. To that end, the County will contribute its individual share of funding—about $313,000—of recently awarded settlement funds for regional use in anti-opioid programs and capital improvement projects.
The Region 9 Council held its first public meeting on Thursday, 8/4. The initial gathering established council expectations and meeting norms as well as a a timeline for future meetings. A recording of the meeting, the agenda and participation information is available by visiting the County’s Legistar meeting portal.
For more information or to view the Council’s meetings, visit our website.