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U.S. Mayors meet in Nashville to Address the Opioid Crisis 
MayorA team from Knoxville, led by Mayor Madeline Rogero, joined five other cities from across the U.S. for a Mayors’ Institute on Opioids, which convened in Nashville Dec. 10-12.

The meeting included national experts and presentations around best practices to address the opioid crisis, with some communities beginning to see a stabilization and even a reduction in the number of fatal and non-fatal overdoses.

William Moyers, Vice President for Public Affairs and Public Relations at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, kicked off the multi-day event, sharing his personal and professional story of recovery as the son of journalist and political commentator Bill Moyers.

At the meeting, the NLC released its preliminary report, Aligning City, County and State Resources to Address the Opioid Epidemic: Lessons Learned and Future Opportunities, which summarized key findings to date for the Institute.

The Mayors’ Institute is coordinated and sponsored by the National League of Cities (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education and Families, and it is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Knoxville is one of six cities selected through a competitive process to participate in the effort.

The goal of the Institute is to assist mayors in identifying and advancing solutions to address the opioid epidemic. Joining Knoxville are teams from West Virginia, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Washington state.

From left: Mayor Victoria Woodards (Tacoma, Wash.), Mayor Paul Soglin (Madison, Wisc.), keynote speaker William Moyers, Mayor Rogero, Mayor Steve Williams (Huntington, W. Va.) and Mayor Joyce Craig (Manchester, N.H.)

The year-long program kicked off in May 2018 with a convening in Boston and continues through spring 2019, providing technical assistance for cities through consultants and webinars, as well as several in-person meetings.

Knoxville’s team is led by Mayor Rogero and includes Knoxville Police Department Chief Eve Thomas, Metro Drug Coalition Executive Director Karen Pershing, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Marie Williams, and Knox County Health Department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan.

Discussions and panels at the convening delved into expanding access to treatment and services, strategic planning, financing strategies, the role of faith-based organizations and a specific panel on innovative efforts and partnerships in Tennessee.

The Tennessee panel was moderated by Pershing and included the Opioid Coordinators from the Tennessee Department of Health and the Nashville Metro Public Health Department, as well as Commissioner Williams.

Unlike many states, Tennessee has been deliberative about pushing federal funding to the local level in a timely manner, according to Commissioner Williams.

The Tennessee Department of Health recently named Shoana Anderson and Kristen Zak as Director and Deputy Director, respectively, for a recently formed opioid response group at the state level.

Commissioner Marie Williams of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (left) is joined by Kristen Zak, Tennessee Department of Health, and Trevor Henderson, Metro Public Health Department of Nashville, on a panel.

Mayor Steve Williams of Huntington, W. Va., is at the forefront of the opioid epidemic. He shared that his community is beginning to see a stabilization and decline in fatal and non-fatal overdoses as are other cities in the U.S., according to recent reports.

Mayor Williams credits Quick Response Teams (QRTs), partnerships with Marshall University, and involving faith-based organizations as key efforts that moved his community forward.

The NLC is releasing several publications summarizing the work of the group, including an initial publication, A Prescription for Action: Local Leadership in Ending the Opioid Crisis.

Posted by fmcanally On 17 December, 2018 at 1:38 PM