Chief Willard joins national task force on heroin/opioid best practices

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Chief Willard
Chief Willard

WASHINGTON, D.C.The National League of Cities (NLC) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) on March 15 announced the members of a new joint national task force to address the country’s opioid and heroin abuse crisis. The City-County National Task Force on the Opioid Epidemic is comprised of city and county leaders from across the country who will aim to enhance awareness, facilitate peer exchanges and identify sound policy and partnership solutions.

Counties and cities have recognized that the opioid and heroin abuse crisis has reached epidemic proportions. 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).

“Our cities are at the forefront of the opioid and heroin crisis in America. It’s up to our city and county leaders to face this epidemic head on,” said National League of Cities President Melodee Colbert-Kean, councilmember, Joplin, Mo. “This joint NLC-NACo task force will work with local community groups and public safety officials to combat heroin and opioid abuse, provide families with vital resources and help make our communities safer.”

“Counties and cities work together in communities every day to address some of our most pressing challenges. One of those challenges is the opioid and heroin abuse crisis that has reached epidemic proportions,” said NACo President Sallie Clark. “Addressing this issue is a top priority for local leaders because we see firsthand the devastating effects of prescription drug abuse and heroin use every day. Drawing on the expertise of county and city leaders, this task force will focus on achieving results on the ground and strengthening health, safety and security in our neighborhoods.”

The City-County Task Force Addressing Heroin and Opioid Abuse task force members include:

NLC Members 
  • Co-Chair—Mayor Mark Stodola, Little Rock, Ark.
  • Councilmember Leta Mach, Greenbelt, Md.
  • Mayor Nan Whaley, Dayton, Ohio
  • Mayor Steve Williams, Huntington, W.V.
  • Police Chief Nick Willard, Manchester, N.H.
  • Council President Ceasar Mitchell, Atlanta, Ga.
  • City Manager Lee Feldman, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Mayor and Councilmember Walt Allen, Corvina, Calif.
  • Councilmember Joel Navarro, Tempe Ariz.
  • Executive Director Geoff Beckwith, Massachusetts Municipal Association
  • Councilmember Lavonta Williams, Witchita, Kansas
  • Ex-Officio: NLC President Melodee Colbert-Kean, councilmember, Joplin, Mo.
NACo Members
  • Co-Chair – Judge/Executive Gary Moore, Boone County, Ky.
  • Commissioner Matt Bell, Weber County, Utah
  • Commissioner Doug Corcoran, Ross County, Ohio
  • County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County, Pa.
  • Dr. Vidya Kora, commissioner, LaPorte County, Ind.
  • Commissioner Waymon Mumford, Florence County, S.C.
  • Supervisor Leticia Perez, Kern County, Calif.
  • County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Erie County, N.Y.
  • Commissioner Greg Puckett, Mercer County, W.V.
  • County Executive Steve Schuh, Anne Arundel County, Md.
  • Commissioner Judy Shiprack, Multnomah County, Ore.
  • Ex-Officio: NACo President Sallie Clark, commissioner, El Paso County, Colo.

The task force will take the following actions:

  • Conduct at least two national dialogues where city and county elected leaders will explore the comprehensive issues related to this crisis, growing trends and proven responses;
  • Develop educational opportunities for counties and cities through special forums, educational workshops, webinars and other opportunities; and
  • Publish a national summary report of city-county collaboration, focusing on community prevention and overdose response, effective treatment options, public safety enforcement and supply reduction.
  • 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.

About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!