BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today issued an executive order creating an Opioid Settlement Advisory Committee to receive and distribute funds received under settlement agreements and recommend how they should be used by local governments.
The state has entered into 11 settlement agreements with 13 opioid manufacturers and distributors in an effort to hold the companies responsible for their roles in furthering the opioid epidemic. As a result of the agreements, North Dakota may receive up to $62 million over the next four to 18 years. The funds will be distributed by the state to assist in regional efforts to combat opioid abuse.
To receive the funds, the state was required to establish a mechanism for receiving and distributing the dollars and recommending how they should be used. The governor today created the Opioid Settlement Advisory Committee as recommended by the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office after Attorney General Drew Wrigley signed the settlement agreements.
“The opioid epidemic has caused significant harm to individuals, families and communities across North Dakota, and it’s important that we immediately begin putting these settlement funds to use to address opioid abuse and support recovery from the disease of addiction,” Burgum said. “We’re grateful to the Attorney General’s Office for its collaboration in establishing this advisory committee to guide these efforts to end this public health crisis.”
“The settlement dollars we secured for North Dakota now have the sacred task of helping address the many agonies of addiction,” Wrigley said. “I thank Gov. Burgum for establishing the mechanism for putting these dollars to work and for his leadership on issues surrounding addiction.”
The committee consists of six voting members appointed by the governor and a non-voting chairperson designated by the governor, with equal representation from the state and local governments.
The following individuals were recommended and appointed as members by both the Governor’s Office and Attorney General’s Office:
- Pam Sagness, director of the Behavioral Health Division in the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services;
- Col. Brandon Solberg, Superintendent of the North Dakota Highway Patrol;
- Jonathan Holth, managing director, Office of Recovery Reinvented;
- Aaron Birst, executive director, North Dakota Association of Counties;
- Mary Korsmo, executive director, North Dakota State Association of City and County Health Officials;
- Stephanie Dassinger Engebretson, deputy director and staff attorney, North Dakota League of Cities.
Burgum has designated Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller to chair the committee, which will hold at least four public meetings annually.