Opioids: How Settlement Dollars Advance City and County Opioid Abatement

BY: CHRISTINE BAKER-SMITH, SAMANTHA KARON, NYA ANTHONY and ELIZABETH WARD* | The following text is a small portion of the article found here.

The National League of Cities (NLC) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) are working together to empower cities and counties to invest funds from opioid-related settlements in life-saving and high impact strategies. This brief describes trends in the allocation of opioid settlement funds across state, county, and city governments and highlights opportunities for cities and counties to collaborate in deploying these funds for maximum impact.


The opioid crisis continues to be a significant public health concern, with opioid-involved overdose deaths nearly quadrupling between 2010 and 2021, including from synthetic opioids like fentanyl.1 However, there has been progress in addressing the issue, with multiple financial settlements awarded to states, counties and  municipalities as redress for the harms caused by pharmaceutical companies in creating this epidemic.

Building on the strong history of collaboration, including the National City-County Task Force on Opioids, the National League of Cities (NLC) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) together are working to empower cities and counties to invest these funds in life-saving strategies and to highlight opportunities to
collaborate on addressing their shared concerns around this epidemic.

In this brief, we examine the total dollars awarded from the first, and largest, of the national opioid settlements; their distribution across cities, counties and states; and highlight several ways in which cities and counties are working together to address the ongoing crisis using these funds, including pooling resources together to support
more comprehensive approaches to improve individual and community outcomes.


The Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership (ARORP) was founded in 2022 by the Arkansas Municipal League and the Arkansas Association of Counties. The goal of this collaborative approach is to combat the opioid epidemic in Arkansas by creating a united front of local government representatives. This innovative approach allows local governments to pool their resources to create a more effective response to opioid use disorder. ARORP offers funds for applicants applying for general funds, as
well as overdose response teams and naloxone distribution. The ARORP website has detailed information on how to apply for these funds, including eligibility criteria and the application process. The website also has a section dedicated to tracking the progress of funded projects, which provides transparency and accountability to the community.

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