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The County’s Opioid Task Force is formed to help address the impacts of the opioid crisis and addiction challenges in the community and advise officials in the use of the County’s portion of opioid litigation proceeds awarded from multi-state distributor and manufacturer litigation.

(April 3, 2023)  At its second meeting in March, the Pope County Board of Commissioners acted to establish a local stakeholder group to address local needs related to opioid and addiction issues in the community.

The Board adopted a resolution establishing the “Pope County Opioid Task Force,” a group of local officials and community members that will meet regularly and collaborate on potential efforts to address addiction challenges in the Pope County community.  The resolution specified that the Task Force will be “evaluating initiative proposals and making recommendations and decisions related to use of funds awarded to the County” from multi-state opioid manufacturer and distributor settlement agreements.

The resolution established the initial membership of the Task Force from government, social services, public health, legal, law enforcement, health care, and education sectors, and allowed the group to involve additional stakeholders from the community.  The resolution also allowed the Task Force to solicit internal and external initiative and project proposals from the community and either award or recommend funding of such projects depending on the amount of funding requested.  Finally, the resolution also requires periodic reports to the Pope County Board on the Task Force’s activities.

Horizon Public Health, as the facilitator and organizer of Pope County’s community response, will be providing information on the Task Force’s activities in Pope County, as well as efforts in the other four counties in the Horizon service area — Douglas, Grant, Stevens, and Traverse Counties.

At the same second March meeting, the Pope County Board also approved a resolution consenting to the County’s participation in the multistate opioid litigation settlements that will fund the work of the Opioid Task Force.  The proceeds expected to come to the County from current litigation settlements amounts to approximately $400,000 over 18 years, with additional funding being added as other opioid litigation is concluded by expected settlement.

Visit Horizon Public Health’s website here for more information on the Pope County Opioid Task Force and its activities, as well as activities elsewhere in their service area, as the initiative progresses in the coming months.