A state trust fund will be created to receive monies recovered from legal claims arising from the manufacture, marketing and distribution of opioids, under a bill Gov. Charlie Baker signed on Monday.
The trust fund bill was signed after Baker and lawmakers worked last week on an amendment to the original proposal. When Baker filed his amendment last year, he wrote, "This ongoing litigation is incredibly important to Massachusetts residents and their families and I am supportive of developing a process for the distribution of any funds that are recovered that involves individuals as well as the communities and municipalities that have been impacted."
The state health and human services secretary, currently Marylou Sudders, working with an opioid recovery and remediation trust fund advisory council, will administer the fund.
The goal is "to mitigate the impacts of the opioid epidemic," by expanding access to opioid use disorder prevention, intervention, and recovery options. Fund expenditures "shall supplement and shall not replace existing local, state, private or federal funding," and the secretary must annually award not less than 75% of the amounts in the fund.
The language of the new law permits the trust fund to receive "funds from public or private sources, including, but not limited to, gifts, grants, donations, rebates and settlements."