AOR Database Methodology

Last Updated 9/5/23


 Our Process

Identify which jurisdictions are receiving opioid settlement funds in each state.

  • Litigation settlement documents for national settlements.
  • Lists provided publicly by state’s associations of counties and state municipal leagues.

Prioritize which jurisdictions to track and catalog.

  • We began by prioritizing counties and over time added larger municipalities. We do not include smaller towns or other stakeholder groups that may receive funding such as hospitals, school districts, or sheriff’s offices.
  • We prioritize Appalachian jurisdictions, defined as counties and corresponding jurisdictions that are served by the Appalachian Regional Commission, and we add information about other jurisdictions as we have the resources and capacity.

Search for sources of public information about jurisdiction funding decisions beginning January 1, 2023*.

  • Official jurisdiction websites containing meeting agendas, minutes, and/or recordings
  • Jurisdiction Facebook pages
  • Jurisdiction YouTube channels
  • State opioid settlement authority websites
  • Local media outlets (including their Facebook pages)
  • *We do not explicitly search for information prior to January 1, 2023, but if relevant information is discovered it is also added to the database.

Search public sources for mentions of opioid settlements.

  • Site: query is a search operator that allows us to search an entire domain or URL.
    • For example – ‘site: opioid’ shows results for pages that contain URLs that start with and mention the term opioid.
    • Limitations – If a URL is indexed in Google, it can show up in search results for site: queries that are related to the URL, however it’s not guaranteed. Also, the query must be correct. site: doesn’t return the same results as site:
    • Also note that the latest content often has not been crawled and indexed by Google, or may be hidden from Google, and we must manually search within websites.
  • On PDF documents and videos with transcript available: We use the Find command to search for words such as ‘opioid,’ ‘settlement,’ ‘abatement,’ ‘litigation,’ ‘drug.’
    • If PDF document is not text searchable on the web, we download it and use Adobe Pro’s Optical Character Recognition (OCR) feature to create a text-searchable document.
    • Using Adobe Pro, we can combine documents from several meetings and perform the Find command just one time.
  • On videos without transcript available: We skim videos for discussion of opioid settlements.
  • Google news search and alerts to locate recent articles or reports that mention keywords.
  • Investigate organizations that have been awarded funds to see details of their programs and grant applications, if available.

Document public sources

  • Date of the meeting or when source was published.
  • Brief overview of the relevant conversation or spending decision made.
  • Hyperlink(s) to source(s) listed along with relevant page numbers or timestamps for reference.
    • If a hyperlink on the database is no longer taking you to the source, it’s possible the webpage has changed, moved, or disappeared. You may be able to find the missing page by searching the “Wayback Machine.” Visit and enter the original URL into the search box and hit return/enter.

Our Annotation

Entries into the database follow this format:

  • Date (YYYY/MM/DD): Brief overview of the conversation or spending decision made. Reference to citation.
  • Citation(s) are listed in the corresponding category:
    • Meeting Notes: Agendas or minutes of an official jurisdiction meeting.
    • Meeting Recording: An audio or video recording of an official jurisdiction meeting.
    • Media or Official Report: Reporting from a news outlet or an official report or press release produced by a jurisdiction or opioid settlement authority.

If the phrase “No information found” is entered into the database, it can mean one of several things:

  • Our team has not identified any public records of jurisdiction meetings or any news coverage of those meetings. Unfortunately, many jurisdictions do not post meeting minutes or recordings online, and local media coverage is scarce in many areas of the region.
  • Our team has identified public meeting records but has not found any mention of opioid settlements beginning January 1, 2023.
  • Our team has not yet searched for information about this jurisdiction.