RD1 - Virginia Opioid Abatement Authority 2022 Annual Report and Executive Summary – January 1, 2023
The Board of Directors for the Opioid Abatement Authority was initially formed in late 2021, adopting by-laws and voting on leadership roles on November 8, 2021. Statewide elections took place that same day leading to changes in two of the Board’s ex-officio positions.
The Authority met next on June 3, 2022, with two new Board members and support staff from the administration in attendance. A framework for 2022’s workplan was put into action and included the hiring of an executive director.
Mr. Anthony E. “Tony" McDowell was selected as the executive director and started in August 2022. With staff in place the Authority then established its basic business infrastructure including the creation of email addresses and phone numbers, a budget, a new website, and a permanent office in downtown Richmond. The Authority employed three additional staff members by mid-November for a total of four full-time employees.
The Authority conducted a total of twelve public meetings during 2022. During these meetings the Board received presentations from the Office of the Attorney General regarding the status of litigation and settlement negotiations. The Board also voted to approve several administrative policies, approved staffing decisions, and provided direction regarding the development of long-term financial policies and grant practices.
The Authority conducted extensive outreach efforts in 2022, with Board members and staff attending and participating as speakers at conferences, workshops, individual meetings, webinars, and podcasts with a wide range of stakeholders and statewide organizations, including print and television media.
The Authority has received indications from localities that assistance will be needed in identifying evidence-based programs and best practices that can be implemented using opioid settlement funds. Staff has begun to compile the Authority’s “toolkit" of evidence-based programs for cities and counties to combat the opioid epidemic. Organizations such as the Virginia Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards are assisting with this effort. Additionally, the Authority has been working with numerous state agencies to identify existing abatement programs as well as any gaps in services that could be addressed through the Authority’s efforts.
By the end of the calendar year $71,911,971.64 had been deposited in the Opioid Abatement Fund as a result of settlement distributions. Although no distributions have been made by the Authority from this Fund, the first process for accepting applications will launch on January 19, 2023.