New task force created to combat opioid use in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) Governor Jeff Colyer signed an executive order to create a drug task force targeting opioid and methamphetamine abuse.

“The crisis of substance use disorder, particularly addiction to opioids, heroine and methamphetamine, has truly become an epidemic in our state and our country,” said Governor Colyer.

The Task Force will be chaired by Greg Lakin, Chief Medical Officer at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and composed of the heads of 16 state agencies and offices, experts in the medical and law enforcement fields, and members chosen by the leadership of both parties in the House and Senate.

“I am establishing this Task Force to gather information, research solutions, and come up with real quantifiable results for the people of Kansas. We must take the issue of substance use disorder seriously, and we must find a way to stop this scourge once and for all.”

One of the duties of the Task Force will be to gather information regarding substance use disorder within the state of Kansas, particularly regarding the growing number of opioid and heroin overdoses in the state.

Members will also evaluate and leverage existing resources, tools, and initiatives already established in the Kansas healthcare continuum, especially the work and recommendations of the Kansas Prescription Drug and Opioid Advisory Committee.

Governor Colyer says they will examine best practices for prevention, treatment, and recovery of at-risk individuals through early detection and education for patients.