Regional Opioid Abatement Council
In 2020-2021, opioids settlements were reached nationwide with the “Big 3” opioid distributors (McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen) and Johnson & Johnson to resolve claims by state and local governments that these companies contributed to the opioid epidemic. As a requirement of these agreements, states had to have significant participation by their counties and municipalities in order to receive maximum base and bonus payments.
In 2021, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser worked with Arapahoe County and other local governments to develop and execute the Colorado Opioids Summary Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that established how opioid funds were to be divided and distributed within the State of Colorado. The Arapahoe County Board of County Commissioners approved this MOU at their meeting on Oct. 26, 2021.
The Colorado MOU establishes specific parameters regarding the statewide allocation of settlement funds from the nationwide opioid litigation, which distributes 20% directly to counties/municipalities that sign the MOU and 60% to county-based regions. All settlement funds are required to be used for opioid abatement through prevention, treatment and harm reduction. I the MOU requires each region to create a “Regional Council” to help distribute these funds towards appropriate uses. Arapahoe County and its municipalities are considered their own region—Region 9—within the state’s framework.
Arapahoe County Regional Opioid Abatement Council
Arapahoe County worked in partnership with its participating municipalities to develop an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that establishes the composition of the regional council and governance structure. Per the requirements of the Colorado MOU, this council will develop a two-year plan that identifies how the Opioid Funds will be used. The IGA also designates Arapahoe County as the fiscal agent for receipt and distribution of these funds on behalf of the regional council. The Board of County Commissioners approved this IGA at their meeting on May 24, 2022.
The Arapahoe County Regional Opioid Council (AC Regional Council) is comprised of the following voting members:
- Arapahoe County Commissioner Bill Holen
- Arapahoe County Commissioner Carrie Warren-Gully
- Arapahoe County Public Health Director Jennifer Ludwig
- Arapahoe County Human Services Director Cheryl Ternes
- Arapahoe County Sheriff Tyler Brown
- Municipal Law Enforcement Representative: Chief of Police Dustin Varney, Greenwood Village
- 18th Judicial District: District Attorney John Kellner
- City of Aurora: Councilmember Francoise Bergan
- City of Centennial: Assistant City Manager Eric Eddy
- West Arapahoe County (Englewood, Sheridan, Littleton): Councilmember Gretchen Rydin, Littleton
- East Arapahoe County and smaller communities: Bennett Town Administrator Trish Stiles
Non-voting members of the AC Regional Council include all the communities of Arapahoe County, except Deer Trail, which opted not to sign the statewide MOU. This includes:
- Bow Mar
- Cherry Hills Village
- Columbine Valley
- Greenwood Village
There will also be a Technical Advisory Committee to advise the AC Regional Council on topic-specific items and act as subject-matter experts.
Any questions about the Arapahoe County Regional Opioid Abatement Council or their process may be sent to ACOpioidCouncil@arapahoegov.com.
The Arapahoe County Regional Council held a kick-off meeting on August 4, 2022 and will determine the schedule of meetings moving forward. Find upcoming meetings and documents at https://arapahoe.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.
Where to go if someone you know is facing an opioid addiction:
What Colorado organizations are doing to prevent opioid addiction: