Governor Whitmer Expands Opioids Task Force Membership to Bring in Local Perspective, Secure More Resources for Michiganders

Government and Politics

September 29, 2022

From: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Local governments will have enhanced role, task force given authority to direct money won in settlements and bankruptcies 

Lansing, MI – On Sep 29th, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order adjusting the membership of the Opioid Task Force she established in 2019. The changes include adding 10 local government representatives to the task force, requiring them to hold four public meetings annually, and giving them power to direct money received from settlements and bankruptcies. 

“We need to continue working together to tackle the root causes of the opioid epidemic and help families get the relief and resources they deserve,” said Governor Whitmer. “On Sep 29th’s adjustments to the Opioids Task Force will bring in local voices and authorize the group to direct money received from settlements and bankruptcies. In 2019 alone, the Michigan Opioids Task Force found that opioid overdoses claimed the lives of 1,768 Michiganders—an average of five a day. Getting this done will help resources get out the door and into the community more efficiently to treat opioid use disorder and support our neighbors, family, and friends in treatment and recovery. If you or a loved one need opioid addiction treatment, there are resources to help.” 

Changes to the Opioids Task Force 

On Sep 29th’s executive order adds 10 local government representatives, who will be appointed, to the task force. It also requires the task force to hold four public meetings a year and gives them the authority to direct money received from settlements and bankruptcies. In the near future, these changes will help Michigan secure $37 million from Mallinckrodt Pharmaceutical, one of the largest opioid manufacturers in the country. The company aggressively pursued the expansion of its market share through certain doctors and pill mills. It was sued by thousands of plaintiffs because of its aggressive actions and, as a result filed for bankruptcy. The $37 million represents Michigan’s share. With the revised structure of the Opioids Task Force, Michigan can continue efficiently distributing bankruptcy funds to local governments, backing ongoing efforts to combat the opioid crisis. 

Bipartisan Legislation to Fight the Opioid Crisis 

In May, Governor Whitmer signed a three bipartisan bills to invest $800 million in treatment, prevention, mental health, and other abatement efforts. The $800 million were Michigan’s portion of the $26 billion national opioid settlement.  

Michigan Opioids Task Force 

The Michigan Opioids Task Force is charged with identifying the root causes of the opioid epidemic and implementing response actions to help Michiganders struggling with opioid addiction access the recovery services they need. The task force also works to raise public awareness about the opioid epidemic and the resources available to those impacted by it. 

The executive order can be viewed here