The city of Fort Worth received the first of several anticipated settlement payments from the Opioid Abatement Fund Council in March.

According to a city press release, the payments could total more than $4 million over the next 18 years in settlements. The funds will be used to combat the opioid crisis in Fort Worth.

The background: The payment comes more than a year after City Council agreed to join in a $50 billion settlement in lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors of opioid painkillers, according to the press release. The Texas Attorney General negotiated receiving $1.5 billion of that settlement, which is now being distributed to communities across Texas, and used for addiction treatment and prevention.

How will the funds be used? Council approved an ordinance on April 11 putting the initial $665,760 payment in a special fund to be overseen by the neighborhood services department on programs to address abatement efforts needed in Fort Worth. Those efforts could include such things as:
  • Providing naloxone/Narcan or other U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs to reverse opioid overdoses
  • Providing medication-assisted treatment to individuals who are uninsured or whose insurance does not cover needed services
  • Providing education to school-aged youths about opioid abuse
  • Funding prevention programs
Why it matters: According to the press release, the payment comes on the heels of a report from MedStar, Fort Worth’s ambulance provider, showing opioid overdoses rising. Between May 2019 and March 2023, MedStar crews said they treated 2,977 patients they believed were suffering from an overdose.

MedStar and Fort Worth’s Recovery Resource Council, which works with substance abuse patients, have partnered to provide resources to patients who suffered an overdose. According to the press release, 623 Narcan kits have been given to 178 families since Dec. 21.