How to Apply for Opioid Settlement Funding

The distribution of money from the opioid settlement fund is locally decided, in most cases by a council or committee composed of local stakeholders including elected officials, providers, patients, and others. The dispersal of funding through a series of Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) between cities and states is not uniform. Thus it is critical that stakeholders investigate the local needs and local pathways as a means to acquire funding. Oftentimes this will require an application or submission in response to a request for proposals. Below is an example of one state’s MOU, process, and links to an application. 

Download ‘How to Apply for Opioid Settlement Funds’

State Example: Colorado

Under the Colorado MOU, all settlement funds must be used for purposes outlined on a long and broad list that focuses on abatement strategies, including improving access to evidence-based pain management treatments. Under the Colorado MOU, settlement proceeds will be distributed as follows:

  • 10% directly to the State (“State Share”)
  • 20% directly to Participating Local Governments (“LG Share”)
  • 60% directly to Regions (“Regional Share”)
  • 10% to specific abatement infrastructure projects (“Statewide Infrastructure

For Colorado, a grant application is required to request funds from the State Share. Found here: 

Funding Opportunities – Colorado Attorney General 

In this example, organizations and advocates in Colorado could submit an application for one or a series of the recommendations. Opioid Abatement Innovation Challenge Application 

Note: Some initiatives may require amendments to state laws such as expanding Medicaid coverage. Other initiatives such as direct salary support for a provider serving in a Federally Qualified Health Center will not likely require engagement with the state’s legislature. 

Application Suggestions and Questions to Consider:
  • Analyze the recommendations against the needs of your region/state. 
    • Examples:
      • Does your state host public awareness campaigns to reduce medically unnecessary use of opioids? 
      • Does your state cover non-pharmacologic options within Medicaid? 
      • Does your local FQHC have a chiropractor or acupuncturist on staff, or provide other NPT services delivered by other provider groups?
  • Research the state’s MOU and application timeline/process.
    • Is the application submission process on an annual, quarterly, or rolling basis? 
  • Generate strategic partners within provider groups, patients, community leaders, and other stakeholders.
    • Do the recommendations provide an opportunity to build a multi-stakeholder partnership to expand coverage and access to non-pharmacologic care? 
    • Does your organization have strategic partnerships with local health department leaders? State officials? Legislators? 
  • If possible, discuss your idea with opioid settlement fund committee members and strategize options ahead of application submission. 
  • Author and submit a high-quality application that clearly discusses the importance of improved pain management options as a means to reduce prescription opioid use.
    • Does your state have any tips for submitting an application? Or do they share any approved applications? Consider reaching out to the opioid settlement committee if no information is available online. 
  • Consider authoring an opinion piece in the local newspaper advocating for the policy recommendation. 
    • Can your organization or a community ally submit an op-ed to the state/city newspaper that can generate press on the importance of improving access to non-pharmacologic services?
  • Stay connected.
    • If your organization has any questions, suggestions, or successes that may be helpful for other states and regions, please let us know with the form below so we can share this information with others and continue to provide relevant updates.