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King County Opioid Settlement

Learn about King County’s opioid settlement funds and how King County plans to use these funds to address harms related to opioids in the community.

In response to their role in fueling the opioid crisis, Washington State and local governments filed lawsuits against several companies that were involved in opioid manufacturing, distribution, and marketing. The lawsuits, filed in 2022, are being settled or finalized in bankruptcy court. The Washington State Attorney General's website has more information about these settlements.

Most of these settlement and bankruptcy funds will be shared by Washington State and its counties and cities with populations over 10,000. The payout periods for these funds differ by case and can last between 1 year and 17 years. To learn more about how the settlement funds will be shared and distributed, read the One Washington Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

As a result of the settlements and bankruptcies known as of April 2024, King County anticipates spending an average of $3.4 million per year between 2022 and 2038. Funds will be directed to Approved Uses to address harms related to opioids in the community. Cities within King County receive and spend their own settlement allocations.

The King County Regional Opioid Abatement Council (OAC) oversees settlement expenditure reporting for King County and its cities and towns.

  • What is the role of Public Health — Seattle & King County?

    Public Health — Seattle & King County serves as the administrator of King County’s opioid settlement funds.

  • How can the funds be used?

    Opioid settlement funds can be used on a List of Opioid Remediation Uses including, but not limited to the following evidence-based or evidence-informed strategies:

    • Treat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)
    • Support people in treatment and recovery
    • Connect people who need help to the help they need (connections to care)
    • Address the needs of criminal justice-involved persons
    • Address the needs of pregnant or parenting women and their families, including babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome
    • Prevent over-prescribing and ensure appropriate prescribing and dispensing of opioids
    • Prevent misuse of opioids
    • Prevent overdose deaths and other harms (harm reduction)
    • First responders
    • Leadership, planning, and coordination
    • Training
    • Research
  • How is community input being gathered?

    • King County worked with University of Washington's Research with Expert Advisors on Drug Use (READU) team to conduct an initial community consultation process and produce a report on recommendations for the use of the settlement funds (539 KB).
    • A community board will be formed in late 2024 to provide ongoing input.
  • What is King County’s plan for spending opioid settlement funds?

    • King County Council approves all opioid settlement spending.
    • Currently, King County plans to spend opioid settlement funds on:
      • Harm reduction supplies
      • Improving treatment access and removing barriers to Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD)
      • Grants for community-based organizations
  • How can I find out more information?