Renton to receive lump sum from opioid distributor settlement

City will put this money toward various substance use prevention efforts and more.

Renton will receive some money to fight substance abuse.

On April 15, the Renton City Council approved proceeding with corresponding steps to receive approximately $472,000 from opioid distributor Janssen following a nationwide settlement in which Jannsen and various other opioid distributors agreed to pay out approximately $26 billion to over 6,500 cities and counties.

“There are parameters around how those funds could be used, that’s within directly addressing the aftermath of opioids and addictions. So that would be education to prevent addiction, outreach, harm reduction,” city spokesperson Laura Pettitt said. “Where we’re at right now is we’re reaching out to the nonprofits and community members with lived experiences that can best inform the solutions for these funds to be prescriptive to Renton’s needs. … That could be anyone from the Renton school district, RFA, or other providers who have input on the best use for these funds.”

In addition to the $472,000 from Janssen, Renton expects to receive a total of $2.15 million in opioid settlement funds from a variety of settlements, Pettitt said. The largest settlement is for $1.5 million and is payable over 17 years, averaging $80,000 to $90,000 per year. Pettitt said at the end of 2023, the total amount paid out from various opioid distributor related settlement funds was about $186,000.

According to Pettitt, guidance on the distribution of these funds is outlined by memorandum of understanding with the state and the King County Regional Opioid Abatement Council. Pettitt said Renton will report back the settlement funds usage to the King County OAC. Pettitt said both the King County OAC and the State of Washington MOU have noted that the funds must center on addressing the opioid crisis, with education to prevent future addiction, harm reduction, and treatment opportunities for those currently addicted to drugs. In addition to those uses, community engagement is also a requirement for the use of these funds.

“At present, the city is in the process of putting together a mix of sources for community engagement — from the Renton School District and RFA, to nonprofits and community members with lived experience so we can best address the needs of the Renton community specifically. These funds will complement HB 1590 funds the city has received to continue and further our work in this area,” Pettitt said.

Description of the opioid abuse settlement. Photo from the Renton City Council

Description of the opioid abuse settlement. Photo from the Renton City Council