County-City Opioid Task Force Continues Work
Tours Northern Kentucky correction and treatment centers, prepares to issue report
WASHINGTON — Continuing its work to battle the devastating toll of opioid abuse across the country, the National City-County Task Force on the Opioid Epidemic convened today for its second meeting in Covington, Kenton County, Ky., to discuss its final report, to be published in October. Part of that process includes a review of policy recommendations and best practices aimed at decreasing the rates of prescription drug abuse and heroin use in communities across the country.
The task force also saw first-hand the impacts of the opioid crisis on Northern Kentucky by visiting facilities involved in the treatment of individuals struggling with addiction, and engaged with those who operate these facilities to hear about the hurdles they face in providing needed services.
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli will also address the task force Saturday.
A joint initiative by the National League of Cities (NLC) and the National Association of Counties (NACo), the 24-member task force explored how cities and counties can strengthen collaboration with each other and state, federal, private-sector and non-profit partners to tackle the opioid crisis.
"This week, we've seen examples of how health care practitioners and law enforcement are working collaboratively to make an impact on opioid abuse in our communities," said Little Rock, Ark., Mayor Mark Stodola, task force co-chair and second vice president of NLC. "City and county leaders are working hand-in-hand because we are on the front lines of this epidemic. We can learn a lot from each other's successes."
Said Task Force Co-Chair Judge/Executive Gary Moore of Boone County, Ky., "It is a testament to the hard work of this group that we have been able to make such progress on sharing our local lessons in combatting this scourge where it is occurring, in counties and cities across the United States."
Leadership and prevention education, treatment and public safety form the pillars of the upcoming report.
Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with more than 47,000 lethal drug overdoses in 2014. This epidemic is driven largely by overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers (18,893) and deaths related to heroin (10,574).
NLC and NACo announced the creation of the task force at NACo's Legislative Conference in February and named the 24-member task force at NLC's Congressional City Conference in March. The joint group convened for the first time in April in Washington, D.C.
About the National League of Cities (NLC)
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. www.nlc.org
About the National Association of Counties (NACo)
The National Association of Counties (NACo) unites America's 3,069 county governments. Founded in 1935, NACo brings county officials together to advocate with a collective voice on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue transformational county solutions, enrich the public's understanding of county government and exercise exemplary leadership in public service. More information at: www.naco.org.