National City and County Associations Advocate for Action Against Opioids

To take on our country’s opioid epidemic, the National League of Cities (NLC) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) have put together a report titled “Prescription for Action.” The report gives recommendations on how local governments can focus on prevention and education of opioid abuse, as well as respond to the crisis by expanding treatment options.

“Opioids” include drugs that are commonly prescribed to relieve pain, such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet, as well as the illicit drug heroin. On average, 78 people die from these dangerous drugs each day, according to the report, which was developed by a task force made up of city and county officials from across the nation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 6,242 deaths due to opioid overdose were reported in the U.S. in 2000. That number increased almost fivefold in 2014 (latest available data) when nearly 30,000 people died of opioid abuse in the U.S.

NLC and NACo stress that the opioid crisis does not discriminate against rural or urban communities, or people of certain classes, races, ethnicities or genders—this is affecting all portions of society.

“It has been said that in every crisis lies the seed of opportunity, and the opioid crisis presents an invaluable opportunity for city and county officials,” the task force chairs state in the report.

NLC and NACo see the opioid crisis as, “an opportunity to assess the way we respond to addiction and to formulate lasting and equitable responses that promote health, safety, and opportunity for all members of our communities.”

Check out the report to find out how you can use this opportunity to better the well-being of your community, those in the surrounding area, and the country at large.

Read the current issue of the Cities Bulletin