National County/City Opioid Task Force Sets to Work

A national task force of city and county leaders dedicated to tackling opioid and heroin abuse held its inaugural meeting in Washington DC. Participants included Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh.

As reported in on NACo County News:

The 24 task force members led by co-chairs Judge Gary Moore, Boone County, Ky., and Mayor Mark Stodola, Little Rock, Ark., engaged in daylong discussions about prevention campaigns, treatment options and public safety challenges.

A joint effort by NACo and the National League of Cities (NLC), the task force was formed to foster collaboration and ramp up local leadership in the fight against prescription drug abuse and heroin use.

Addiction treatment was next on the agenda, focused primarily on medication-assisted methods such as methadone and Suboxone.

Treatment professionals have a nearly a 50-year history with methadone and a shorter time, 10 years, with Suboxone, but enough in both cases to know that mortality rates from all causes are reduced in half and the risk of HIV infection is also halved, said Melinda Campopiano, medical officer at the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), who led the discussion.

The presentation prompted a lively discussion about stressed capacity.

“In Multnomah County, there are way more people seeking treatment than slots available,” Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack said.  Judge Moore said the methadone clinic in his county sees 1,000 to 1,100 people a day, and the community is beginning to push back, afraid that centralizing treatment will increase crime rates in the area.

Anne Arundel County, Md. Executive Steve Schuh offered three impediments to mounting treatment programs and “community resistance” was number one.

The task force is charged with conducting national dialogues, developing educational opportunities for local governments, and publishing a national summary.

For more information read the full article on NACo County News.

Previous coverage on Conduit Street:

Schuh Tabbed for National County/City Drug Task Force

Counties, Cities to Join Forces on Opioid Task Force