Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar today announced the transfer of a one-time allocation of $5 million to the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. This represents the first transfer of funding recovered through statewide opioid settlements with pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, and other parties responsible for the opioid epidemic.
Hegar is also chairman of the Texas Opioid Abatement Fund Council, which Hegar describes as “a leading funding source for legal aid in Texas and works to guarantee all Texans have equal access to the state’s civil justice system.” TAJF funding helps legal aid organizations provide legal assistance to more than 100,000 low-income individuals each year.
“The $5 million transfer will help TAJF provide vital legal services to Texans who have personally experienced the harms of the opioid epidemic, including children whose caretakers have suffered from opioid use disorder,” Hegar said. “These Texans face especially difficult odds in our civil justice system and are at heightened risk of entering foster care. This transfer will help respond to a critical need and will help secure justice for particularly vulnerable Texans.”
The OAFC was formed by the Texas Legislature in 2021 to ensure that money recovered through the joint efforts of the state and its political subdivisions from statewide opioid settlement agreements is allocated fairly and spent to remediate the opioid crisis using efficient, cost-effective methods. The Texas Legislature also requires the Comptroller to transfer $5 million of opioid settlement funds recovered to TAJF to provide legal aid to low-income Texans harmed by the opioid epidemic.