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Poloncarz in Washington for meeting of opioid crisis task force


Wed, Apr 6th 2016 01:20 pm

County executive, colleagues from across the U.S., to begin national study; findings and recommendations to be presented to President Obama, Congress in October

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz will be in Washington, D.C., this week to join colleagues from across the country to begin serving on the opioid crisis task force, comprised of members from the National Association of Counties and National League of Cities. Nearly a dozen elected county executives/commissioners and 10 elected city leaders will meet this year to focus on practical solutions to the opioid crisis sweeping the country, with a final event in October to announce the task force's findings and present its recommendations to President Barack Obama and Congress.

"I am proud our efforts in Erie County to combat opiate addiction have been recognized nationally through my appointment to the National Association of Counties and National League of Cities Joint National Task Force," Poloncarz said. "Much like our Erie County opiate task force, the national commission will examine all the best efforts being made across our country and present our findings and recommendations to the president and Congress by the end of this year."

The task force aims to build awareness among elected officials at the local level by enabling peer exchanges, identifying best practices and finding sound policy and partnership solutions. With a focus on county-city collaborations, members will address policies and create strategies for reducing prescription drug abuse, exploring best practices for community prevention and overdose response, promoting public safety enforcement, and identifying effective treatment options.

Members of the task force will bring local perspectives from their own communities' efforts to combat the opioid problem, helping to sharpen the focus on the public health, public safety and human services components of the opioid crisis, with a special attention to potential county-city collaborations that can strengthen community response in these areas.

Poloncarz said, "It is truly an honor to serve, and I look forward to learning about what other communities across our nation are doing to end this epidemic, and then taking these ideas back here to our county."

The group is scheduled to meet again in the nation's capital in June prior to the October presentation of findings and recommendations. The task force's two national co-chairs are County Executive Gary Moore of Boone County, Kentucky, and Mayor Mark Stodola of Little Rock, Arkansas. Also joining Poloncarz, the lone New York representative on the task force, are representatives from Utah, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Carolina, California, West Virginia, Maryland, Oregon and Colorado.

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