National Joint Task Force On Opioid Abuse Releases Final Report

Modified: November 17, 2016 2:35pm

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Date: 
11/17/16

A joint task force convened by the National Association of Counties (“NaCo”) and the National League of Cities (“NLC”) and of which Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz is a member today released its final report, “A Prescription for Action: Local Leadership in Ending the Opioid Crisis”, which contains recommendations for leaders at all governmental levels to collaborate in fighting opioid abuse. The best practices-based recommendations are aimed at city and county officials and provide templates for community leadership and regional cooperation, increasing public awareness and education, expanding treatment, and reassessing public safety and law enforcement approaches to the opioid crisis. Actions that can be completed at the state and federal levels are also outlined, along with numerous “Tools and Examples” of anti-opioid programs that have seen success across the country.

“The Joint Task Force brought together local elected leaders from across the U.S., men and women who have seen the ravages of opioid abuse in their communities first-hand, to compare and use their experiences to build a stronger nationwide response to the issue. I am proud that Erie County received recognition for our efforts, with two of our programs being mentioned specifically in the final report, and that our practices will be part of a plan to help other municipalities fight opioid abuse themselves,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Opioid abuse is a scourge across our country and is claiming far too many lives for any one government acting alone to stop it. It is an honor to serve with my colleagues on the Joint Task Force to bring new light to the problem, to challenge old conventions and stereotypes on addiction and abuse, and to help create a collaborative path forward for communities and regions facing these issues.”

Erie County was noted in the report for its efforts to expand the availability of medication-assisted treatments to address addiction and co-occurring mental health problems, as well as for its collaboration with the SUNY College at Buffalo Center for Health and Social Research in developing “The Point”. This program provides information on locations where an individual can access clean needles and syringes; this allows for the safe disposal of used needles, is an important step in protecting against the spread of blood-borne diseases, and also opens a path for those individuals seeking treatment. The Point can also be used to locate sites for simple, secure disposal of unused prescription medications.

The full contents of the report are available at http://www.opioidaction.org/ .

NaCo members joining Poloncarz on the Joint Task Force include Co-Chair-Judge/Executive Gary Moore (Boone County, KY); Commissioner Matt Bell (Weber County, UT), Commissioner Doug Corcoran (Ross County, OH), County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper (Erie County, PA), Commissioner Dr. Vidya Kora (LaPorte County, IN), County Councilmember Waymon Mumford (Florence County, SC), Supervisor Leticia Perez (Kern County, CA), Commissioner Greg Puckett (Mercer County, WV), County Executive Steve Schuh (Anne Arundel County, MD), and Commissioner Judy Shiprack (Multnomah County, OR).

NLC members of the Joint Task Force include Co-Chair – Mayor Mark Stodola (Little Rock, AR), Councilmember Walt Allen (Covina, CA), Executive Director Geoff Beckwith (Massachusetts Municipal Association), City Manager Lee Feldman (Fort Lauderdale, FL), Councilmember Leta Mach (Greenbelt, MD), Council President Caesar Mitchell (Atlanta, GA), Councilmember Joel Navarro (Tempe, AZ), Mayor Nan Whaley (Dayton, OH), Police Chief Nick Willard (Manchester, NH), Councilmember Lavonta Williams (Wichita, KS), and Mayor Stephen Williams (Huntington, WV).