Maricopa County recently announced 12 local organizations that will receive about $2 million of its $80 million in national opioid settlement funds that were negotiated between states, Tribal nations, and opioid distributors and manufacturers. Arizona is expected to receive $542 million over 18 years.
One of Maricopa County’s awardees include Live and Learn Arizona, a nonprofit that provides education, empowerment, and a structured pathway to economic independence for women. The organization is awarded $60,000 to increase the number of clients served through its Women Building Resiliency Program. Live and Learn Arizona is increasing accessibility to clients experiencing transportation barriers through providing both virtual and in-person services across the county.
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Erin Mowad, development director of Live and Learn Arizona, told State of Reform that the Women Building Resiliency Program was jump started in 2021 through an investment from Blue Cross Blue Shield.
“It is a unique approach to ensuring long-term stability and well-being for women whose lives have been shaped by poverty, homelessness, and addiction. Women Building Resiliency provides 12 months of individualized, holistic support to help women stabilize, secure, and retain employment, and access comprehensive healthcare. Demand for this program is high in Maricopa County, and we are grateful for this funding to allow us to grow.”
In August 2021, the Attorney General’s Office announced that all 15 counties, and 90 of the state’s cities and towns, signed onto the One Arizona Memorandum of Understanding, known as the One Arizona Plan, to rapidly distribute funds across the state from national opioid settlements.
Under the One Arizona Plan, which provides funding for programs to address opioid use and has reporting requirements on how money is used, allocates 55 percent of total settlement funds to local governments and 44 percent to a state fund for opioid amelioration programs.
notMYkid, an organization that has served over three million Arizonans in the past 23 years, has been awarded $250,000 to expand its full continuum of care services to prevent substance and opioid use disorders, and to increase recovery support for youth and families through community and school-based programming and outreach across the county. With this funding, notMYkid will also provide prevention education and training to parents, providers, and school staff.
“Our mission is to ensure every kid thrives by inspiring positive life choices,” Sarah Grado, chief programs officer, told State of Reform. “Born out of a family’s personal experience with addiction, notMYkid’s programs follow a peer-to-peer model that allows our diverse staff to use their personal experiences, education, and training to provide the highest quality prevention and early action programs, and treatment and recovery support throughout Arizona.”
Grado added that the funding allows their team of prevention experts to provide urgently needed programs and resources to youth and families in response to Arizona’s escalating opioid and fentanyl crisis.
Maricopa County has invested $1.5 million of its settlement funds towards the expansion of the Medication Assisted Treatment Program in Maricopa County jails, which allows for those entering carceral settings to begin an opioid treatment regimen that may be continued after their release.
The national opioid settlement will provide federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Tribal health organizations over $500 million, with over $1 billion having been distributed earlier this year.
All government entities receiving opioid settlement funds are required to submit annual reports to the state by July 31st of each year.