Skip to Content

Rep. Williams Sponsoring Opioid Task Force Bill

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Rep. Williams Sponsoring Opioid Task Force Bill

State Representative Ryan Williams has introduced a bill to create a state opioid task force to address opioid abuse and addiction.

Williams said the task force will also be in charge of equally dividing settlement money from the Big Pharma lawsuit.

“Our local District Attorney’s here in the state have sued opioid drug companies because of the addictive properties of opioids,” Williams said. “The purpose of that bill was to file the bill just in case there was some argument with how the money is distributed across the state.”

About $15 million out of the $573 million settlement from McKinsey & Company is set to go to Tennessee. McKinsey & Company played a role in the distribution of Purdue Pharma’s Oxycontin. Williams said he will work with District Attorney Bryant Dunaway to make sure the district gets a fair share.

“The next step is to read the settlement or the lawsuit details and see how the money is going to be distributed,” Williams said. “Once we are able to better understand, I will get with District Attorney General Dunaway and our judiciary there to look and see if we feel like it is a fair distribution of those moneys based upon the need.”

Williams said opioids remain an ongoing crisis in Tennessee, and the task force will work towards a solution. The legislation is currently in committee.

“This was a huge problem when I first got elected in the Upper Cumberland,” Williams said. “Opioids… You could get them from multiple doctors. People were doctor shopping and buying opioids all across the community. And they were using them inappropriately and sometimes selling them.”

The task force consists of 13 members: six members appointed by the commissioner of health, and six members appointed by the commissioner of mental health and substance abuse services. The 12 members appointed by the commissioners shall jointly appoint one member to the task force.

At least three members of the task force must be appointed from, and reside in, each grand division of the state. At least two members from each grand division must have at least 10 years of experience in one or more of the following areas of expertise: Public health policy; Medicine; Substance use disorder and addiction treatment; or Mental health services.

The task force shall report all findings and recommendations to the general assembly and governor by June 30, 2022, at which time this section is repealed and the task force ceases to exist.


The post Rep. Williams Sponsoring Opioid Task Force Bill appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.