Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar Announces Opioid Abatement Fund Council Decisions to Approve Grant Plans and Proposed Rules

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar Announces Opioid Abatement Fund Council Decisions to Approve Grant Plans and Proposed Rules

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar commended the Opioid Abatement Fund Council (OAFC) today for its approval of abatement strategies and grant plans, alongside the adoption of proposed rules aimed at distributing opioid settlement funds to Texas hospital districts.

During its regular meeting on November 28, the OAFC sanctioned three key strategies and grant plans to combat the statewide opioid crisis. The approved plans include the distribution of Naloxone to communities affected by the opioid epidemic, the promotion of substance abuse prevention and awareness for students in grades kindergarten through 12th, and support for the behavioral health workforce through training, recruitment, retention, and certification assistance.

The OAFC has allocated up to $25 million of opioid settlement trust funds for each of the abatement strategies mentioned above. Comptroller Hegar, serving as the chairman of the OAFC, expressed pride in the council’s decisions, emphasizing their commitment to addressing the opioid crisis and supporting Texas communities.

“I want to thank the Council members for their efforts in developing strategies that are designed to have an immediate impact,” said Hegar. “I am also pleased that the Council took important action to provide hospital districts with additional resources to combat this crisis.”

The council’s decisions will have a significant impact on hospitals, which often play a crucial role in preventing overdose deaths. The OAFC has approved proposed rules for the fair and equitable distribution of an estimated $166.7 million in opioid settlement funds to over 150 hospital districts. These rules, dictated by state law, aim to ensure accountability and transparency in the use of funds.

The distribution plan outlines a one-time allocation for the smallest rural hospital districts in the initial funding round, with subsequent rounds shifting to a pro-rata formula for mid-sized and large urban hospitals. This approach allows flexibility for hospital districts to tailor evidence-based programs to their unique community needs.

The proposed rules are set to be published in the Texas Register for public comment, with adoption expected as soon as spring 2024. The OAFC, established by the Texas Legislature in 2021, works to allocate funds recovered from statewide opioid settlements efficiently and cost-effectively to address the opioid crisis. In March 2023, Comptroller Hegar announced the first-round payment of $47.1 million from the Opioid Abatement Trust Fund to political subdivisions, addressing opioid-related harms in communities.