Maine Recovery Council seeks public feedback on opioid settlement funds

Council members have said they need to hear from the public before making spending decisions.
A white bottle of oxycodone sits on a shelf among other white pill bottles.
Since the council’s first meeting in November 2022, there have been more than 9,200 nonfatal overdoses and over 650 suspected and confirmed fatal overdoses. Photo by Pureradiancephoto/iStock.

The council tasked with distributing nearly $118 million in settlement funds from the companies accused of fueling the opioid epidemic is asking the public for their top priorities for spending the money.

The Maine Recovery Council will hold a public forum Nov. 2 at University of Maine Augusta’s Jewett Hall at 46 University Drive from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Members of the public who want to provide testimony in-person will have three minutes to speak and are asked to submit written copies of their testimony to the council at the forum, or via email to The public can submit written testimony to the same email, regardless of whether they speak at the forum.

The forum will be livestreamed for those who wish to watch but not participate via Zoom.

The council is also accepting responses to a survey until Nov. 2 at 5 p.m.

The 15-member council is tasked with distributing half of the $235 million in settlement funds Maine expects to receive over 18 years. The council has met monthly since its first meeting in November 2022.

As of this August, it has received more than $17 million from the settlements, but has yet to spend any of it.

At their August meeting, council member and Gov. Janet Mills’ director of opioid response, Gordon Smith, said, “I don’t think any of us want to be here in November on the first anniversary date of receiving this money and say that we haven’t spent any of it. Pretty soon people are going to look at Maine and say they’re falling behind.”

Over the past several months, council members have said they need to hear from the public before they can make any spending decisions.

A discussion on the public forum and survey is on the agenda for the council’s Nov. 9 meeting. They have not yet said when the first tranche of money will be distributed.


Emily Bader

Emily Bader is a health care and general assignment reporter for The Maine Monitor. She joined The Monitor in April 2023 from the Sun Journal in Lewiston, Maine, where she covered healthcare for two years and was a University of Southern California Center for Health Journalism Data Fellow. Prior to that, she was a staff writer for the Lakes Region Weekly in Cumberland County. Emily has earned several awards, including the Maine Press Association’s Bob Drake Young Writer Award in 2021, the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s Publick Occurrences Award in 2022 and most recently, the Maine Public Health Association’s journalism award. Emily was born and raised in Los Angeles and earned her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Wellesley College.
Previous Post
Jared Golden poses for a photo

Lewiston mass shootings changed Rep. Golden’s mind on assault weapons. Will it change his state?

Next Post
Police cars outside the Lewiston bar where a mass shooting happened.

Ellsworth Police officer notified of Robert Card’s threats in mid-September

The Maine Monitor has five newsletters to keep you informed about Maine.