Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson was in the Panhandle this week, talking with county attorney’s about opioid issues facing the state.
Peterson says the big picture is in regard to the nationwide opioid litigation, in which there’s been a lot of settlement discussions. He adds Nebraska is one of 44 states that’s in the multi-state litigation.
“One of the things I’m trying to do is get a better sense of what county attorneys across the state see with regards to opioid addiction, opioid cases,” explains Peterson. “And also, in my four years of office, I’ve heard a lot about of the struggle of meth.”
Peterson says if there is a settlement, that money is primarily going to be dedicated to treatment. That would tie in to the opioid collation founded three years ago with University of Nebraska Medical Center, Department of Health and Human Services, and law enforcement.
“It was designed to see what we could do to make sure we didn’t have an opioid crisis in Nebraska and that’s been very effective. One of the things that’s come out of that is better treatment programs.”
Peterson says that after sitting down with county attorneys this week, it confirmed his notions that while there are opioid issues throughout the state, meth is the biggest crisis we’re finding in almost every community.
Now, Peterson is trying figure out if Nebraska does receive those proceeds that are specifically designated for opioid treatment- is there a way to utilize those treatment methods to address the meth issue.
“And so my conversations with, for example Scotts Bluff County Attorney Dave Eubanks, is ‘Dave , what are you seeing, how does it break down in the Scottsbluff area?'”
“And his response was very similar to what I hear from other county attorneys….if they’re looking at their drug abuse issues in their community, probably 80 to 85 percent of it is with meth, and the other balance would be with opioids.”
Peterson says after these conversations, it seems important that if opioid settlement money comes in for Nebraska, the million dollar question is how to apply that money to be multi-faceted for treatment programs to those suffering a meth addiction.