Treasure Valley Leaders Unveil Plan for Battling Growing Opioid Crisis
A new strategic plan for battling the growing opioid crisis in the Treasure Valley was unveiled Monday by elected officials, law enforcement officials, and health care and recovery professionals.
In recent years, opiate related deaths have jumped significantly across the nation and in the Treasure Valley, with 2018 on pace to set new records. To combat this trend, the plan outlines tactics and strategies for achieving six key goals by the summer of 2021:
- Ensuring adequate resources exist for prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery, and data collection
- Establish a coalition to optimize collaboration, communication, and coordination among Treasure Valley opioid-related stakeholders and the public
- Utilize law enforcement assisted diversion to identify individuals at risk who may be amenable to treatment
- Expose healthcare professionals and the public to information that will prevent opioid misuse
- Reduce social barriers for people with substance use disorder (SUD) by de-stigmatizing the disease of addiction and treatment
- Identify, optimize, and implement evidence-based, patient/family centered, comprehensive SUD treatment options to reduce opioid overdoses by 50%
The planning effort is sponsored by the Treasure Valley Partnership, a coalition of mayors and commissioners from Ada, Canyon, and Owyhee counties, including 14 cities in southwest Idaho, that work to collaborate on wide-ranging issues that impact the entire region.
“Like many communities across the country the Treasure Valley is challenged with the growing opioid epidemic,” said Boise Mayor David Bieter, a member of the Treasure Valley Partnership. “This is an issue that cuts across all ages, races and economic levels and destroys individuals and families among us.”
The trends are challenging, Mayor Bieter pointed out. In Boise alone, one opioid death was reported in 2013; in 2017 there were 96. Similar trends are being seen across the Treasure Valley.
“The opioid epidemic doesn’t recognize the borders of each city. That is why we have come together to address the crisis as a valley, with a goal to effect change in our communities,” said Mayor Tammy de Weerd, City of Meridian.
The plan unveiled today is the result of a June 7-8 gathering of 60 community leaders from across a host of sectors who came together to understand the issue, strategize on goals and plan the region’s collective response to the growing opioid problem. Health care professionals, law enforcement, educators and elected officials were part of that conversation.
“Broken families, losses to employers, and community safety are just a few of the casualties in the opioid crisis and we see the impact every day in our treatment facilities,” said Janice Fulkerson of Northpoint Recovery, a key participant in the drafting of the plan. “This Strategic Plan includes prevention, comprehensive SUD treatment options, and other tactics to address the growing problems. We are pleased to be a part of the community collaboration in the development of this plan.”
Published: July 26, 2018