Jefferson County Recognized for Opioid Settlement Planning Process

Jefferson County announced it is receiving of one of the inaugural awards for Excellence in the Application of the Opioid Litigation Principles. The Opioid Litigation Principles were developed by a coalition of organizations from across the spectrum of the substance use field and by faculty and staff from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. They are a set of evidence-based strategies to guide state and local policymakers on how to use the national settlement funds. Jefferson County received this award for demonstrating how its decision-making process reflects the following principles:

1. Spend the Money to Save Lives

2. Use Evidence to Guide Spending

3. Invest in Youth Prevention

4. Focus on Racial Equity

5. Develop a Fair and Transparent Process for Deciding Where to Spend the Funding

The principles are described in a report coordinated by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health which provides details and examples to guide jurisdictions’ efforts.

Jefferson County established an Advisory Opioid Board composed of content experts and community leaders across various sectors. This board oversees and guides the allocation and expenditure of opioid settlement funds using the established principles.

Cognizant of the commendable initiatives already underway in the community, the Jefferson County Opioid Board instituted a Request for Proposals (RFP) and a grant application process to streamline allocation and create a fair process. The county’s primary goal within this process is to prioritize initiatives that distinctly demonstrate principle 1: Spend the Money to Save Lives.

In addition, the Jefferson County Opioid Board has established a partnership with the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service’s SMART (Substance Misuse and Addiction Resource of Tennessee) initiative offering valuable expertise in the development of the grant process, evidence-based and promising practices, and success metrics for funded projects.

Jefferson County encourages all policymakers to consider using the principles when developing strategies for allocation of the opioid settlement funds.

“The recognition of Jefferson County Opioid Task Force is directly related to all the members of the task force, nonprofits, UT SMART Initiative, and the people of Jefferson County,” said Jefferson County Mayor Mark Potts.