Our opinion: Options for opioid settlement funds

Warren County Commissioners have a $970,000 question before them — what is the best way to spend the county’s share of a settlement with opioid producers?

The county’s share of the statewide settlement isn’t enough for something huge, like a new drug treatment center. But it is enough money to start and sustain programs that could help hundreds of Warren County residents every year. We agree with County Commissioner Jeff Eggleston that Warren County needs a plan so it can hit the ground running when opioid lawsuit settlement proceeds begin flowing.

And, in our opinion, Eggleston is right when he notes the jail is a good place to start.

“It becomes clear the prison is the tip of the spear,” for addressing some serious mental health issues “and where it really culminates,” Eggleston said during a recent meeting.

Of course, that can mean a lot.

The money could pay for substance abuse counselors to work with those who need help. It could be used to partner with a non-profit for peer-mentoring as has been done in neighboring Chautauqua County through the Mental Health Association. The county could use medication-assisted treatment programs to make it easier for those with addiction problems to wean themselves off of opioids. Money could be spent on youth programs to educate teenagers about the dangers of addiction.

There’s no shortage of ways to spend opioid settlement money. Let’s use it wisely.


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