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For Immediate Release
April 3, 2024
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683

DHS Submits Plan to Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance on How to Use $36 Million in Opioid Settlement Funds 

The plan prioritizes prevention and strengthens current successful programs  

On April 1, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) submitted its plan for the annual share of $750 million of opioid settlement funds to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance (JFC). As a result of settlements reached by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Wisconsin will receive $36 million this year that will be used to prevent opioid use disorder while continuing and strengthening successful efforts for harm reduction, treatment, and recovery.

“This is a thoughtful plan built from the advice we received through surveys, listening sessions, and roundtable discussions, as well as reviews of data and already existing programs, and by identifying the needs that still exist,” said Kirsten Johnson, DHS Secretary-designee. “We want to thank our partners, providers, and people with experience with opioid misuse and their family and friends, for sharing their ideas that helped us shape a plan that moves us toward the goal of ending the state’s opioid epidemic.”

Attorney General Josh Kaul added, “The efforts of the Wisconsin Department of Justice and others to get accountability in connection with the opioid epidemic have secured the recovery of approximately 3/4 of a billion dollars. It’s essential that these funds be used as effectively as possible to combat the epidemic and save lives.”

2021 Wis. Act 57 requires DHS to submit a plan for the anticipated settlement funds to the JFC every year.

The plan includes:

  • $6 million for Wisconsin’s Tribal Nations
  • $5 million for Community, Education, and After-School Prevention
  • $5 million for Family Support and Resource Centers
  • $5 million for Peer Support in Opioid Treatment Programs
  • $3.5 million for Naloxone
  • $1 million for Fentanyl Test Strips
  • $3 million for Capital Projects
  • $2.5 million for Room and Board for Medicaid members
  • $1.5 million for EMS Leave Behind Programs
  • $1 million for Public Health Vending Machines
  • $1 million for Law Enforcement Grants
  • $1.5 million for Data Collection and Surveillance System Enhancements

Wisconsin continues to grant funds for projects from previous settlement plans. For example, today DHS is announcing $2.5 million in grants to four Tribal Nations and 53 counties to help about 1,300 Wisconsin Medicaid recipients access residential treatment. Other projects and programs funded through previous settlement funding can be found on the Dose of Reality webpage.

Two years ago, the Attorney General announced final approval of an agreement with the nation’s top three major pharmaceutical distributors (Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen) and Johnson & Johnson, known as the National Prescription Opiate Litigation (NPOL). Payments from the distributors will continue for 14 more years. Payments from Johnson & Johnson will continue for seven more years.

Wisconsin will also start to receive money in 2024 from settlements reached with Teva, Allergan, Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS.

Data from 2023 hasn’t been finalized, but 2022 numbers show 1,464 people died of an opioid overdose in Wisconsin and 2,530 emergency room visits because of opioid use. The addition of fentanyl, a powerful, synthetic opioid often added to drugs without the person using the drug knowing, has contributed to many of these deaths.

DHS and DOJ continue to partner on the Dose of Reality campaign where Wisconsinites can find information for themselves or their loved ones, including information about naloxone, fentanyl test strips, options for treatment and recovery, and ways to talk to family and friends about opioid use. Resources for providers are also available on the Dose of Reality website.

People interested in learning how to build healthy communities are invited to attend the 2024 Opioids, Stimulants, Trauma Summit May 7-9 in Wisconsin Dells or online. Registration is open through May 7.

If you or someone you love needs help for an opioid use disorder or other substance use concern, contact the Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline. Call 211 or 877-947-2211.

Last revised April 3, 2024