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Opioid Crisis Legal Actions and Collective Impact Projects...Continued...

Posted by Joe Antle on March 29, 2020 1:25 PM EDT
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Building on my prior blog posting on the subject of community-wide collective impact progjects for reducing Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in local communities and regions...

...I wanted to try and draw the connection between reported possibilities for opioid crisis class action suits, substance use disorder summits, and regionally-centered substance use disorder collective impact projects.  This blog post is essentially a follow-on or "sequel" if you will to that earlier one.

Anyway, the "60 Minutes" segment suggests that if the suit is won, and if the legal team winning it provides the settlement(s) to the treatment for those affected by the epidemic and still alive, then the dollars that potentially could be going through the system to regional treatment providers will be substantial (class action suite expert Mike Moore's $100 billion estimate in the "60 Minutes" interview with Bill Whitaker of CBS News).  And the measurable results that those providers will likely be held accountable for will focus on proven substance use disorder recovery results, not just on specific services rendered as is currently often the case. It will likely be predicated on addicted participants who successfully “graduate” or gain control of their addiction.  Further, it may be possible that jobs may be created as some dollars may even flow into those “recovered ‘ addicts becoming recovery coaches or part of the next phase of treatment solutions.

As we know, individual or city-wide and county-wide opioid epidemic related lawsuits continue to gain momentum.  I believe there is a scenario that favors an entity like Mike Moore’s law firm (which was featured in the “60 Minutes” video from the segment that was aired a few Sunday nights ago) or a host of other local and regional organizations and other legal entities negotiating a statewide or countrywide settlement in which opioid manufacturers, distributors (like McKesson) and individual doctors and pharmacies may be willing to pay into a broad settlement like was done back in the day with tobacco manufacturers and later with BP oil spill.

As Mr. Moore states boldly in the interview, it’s also very likely that after the lawyers are paid and after families get their share, then the remainder will go to regional treatment initiatives.  If that comes to pass, and it may take a few years to work its way through the federal and state legal systems, there may economic and service opportunities for nationally-recognized providers and local and regional organizations across the spectrum.  And having some sort of local/regional/statewide presence could work in favor of regional sustance use disorder community-wide collective impact projects (perhaps better labeled as "community action"projects). 

Below are key points from an email I received recently (in response to an email I sent to her) from a local television station executive who I met with a couple of weeks ago.  She has expressed an interest in working with us as a media promotional partner on a regional SUD Summit concept.  She cites a couple of local law firms (highlighted in her email) who are aggressively pursuing action now.  And here are a few links that are promoting “individual” legal action.  This type of thing will likely expedite the process above to get to a unilateral and comprehensive settlement.  Not sure what the exact tactics ought to be, but prepping for the longer term scenario NOW makes a lot of sense.  And perhaps there are opportunities in the near term for participating in regional and county-wide settlements by offering an integrated, evidence-based SUD recovery treatment service?

https://www.drugwatcher.org/opioids-lawsuit/

https://www.classactionlawsuithelp.com/opioid-class-action-lawsuit/

https://www.classaction.com/news/lawsuits-accountability-opioid-epidemic/

https://www.stl.news/opioid-epidemic-class-action-suits-making-difference/131692/

That's more than enough for now.  I'll keep you posted from time to time as we move forward on the summit event concept and look to find a project or two to provide funding in support of collective impact and reduction of the substance abuse impact in our region.  Maybe we can start putting things in place right here in the Hampton Roads, Virginia region...and maybe move up the road to the state's capital-Richmond, Virginia?

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