(Columbia, SC) — The South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health (IMPH), in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS), hosted a press conference regarding the recent opioid settlement and released IMPH’s new report: South Carolina’s Guide to Approved Uses for Investing Opioid Settlement Funds. The report includes recommendations by a group of subject matter experts and is meant to serve as a resource for county and municipal policymakers on appropriate strategies that can be funded by South Carolina opioid settlement funds from this and future settlements.
On February 25, 2022, the National Prescription Opiate Litigation Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) finalized settlements totaling $26 billion with the “Big Three” drug distributors – AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson – and opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. Fifty-two states and territories and thousands of local governments across the country signed on to the agreement.
In addition to the national agreements, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson worked with the state’s counties and eligible municipalities to allocate more than $360 million coming to South Carolina over the next 18 years. Through an agreement reached by Wilson and the litigating counties, 92% of these funds will be used to directly address the opioid crisis.
As part of the South Carolina Opioid Settlement Allocation Agreement, the state has enacted legislation to allow settlement funds to be sent to approved counties and municipalities and created the South Carolina Opioid Recovery Fund Board to manage and disburse the settlement funds. The board will be comprised of nine members who will be appointed and representative of the four regions of the state.
IMPH’s report suggests that all funds in the South Carolina Opioid Recovery Fund should be used for one or more of the following approved opioid remediation uses:
- Naloxone or other FDA-approved drug to reverse opioid overdoses.
- Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) distribution and other opioid-related treatment.
- Treatment for pregnant and postpartum women.
- Expanding treatment for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).
- Expansion of warm hand-off programs and recovery services.
- Treatment for incarcerated population.
- Prevention programs.
- Expanding syringe service programs.
- Evidence-based data collection and research analyzing the effectiveness of the abatement strategies within the state.
These core strategies will support treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and any co-occurring Substance Use Disorder or Mental Health (SUD/MH) conditions through evidence-based or evidence-informed programs or strategies. For more information, read the full report here.
IMPH and DAODAS convened the following subject matter experts to develop this report:
- Christina M. Andrews, PhD
Department of Health Services Policy and Management
Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina
- Kathleen T. Brady, MD, PhD
Distinguished University Professor
Director, South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute
Medical University of South Carolina
- Sara Goldsby, MSW, MPH
Agency Director, South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services
- Alain H. Litwin, MD, MPH
Executive Director, Prisma Health Addiction Medicine Center
Vice Chair of Academics and Research, Department of Medicine, Prisma Health
Professor of Medicine, University of South Carolina School of Medicine – Greenville
Professor, Clemson University School of Health Research
- Edward Simmer, MD, MPH, DFAPA
Agency Director, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
For more information on the settlement, the contributors and more, access the full report.