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Opioid resolution at Council today

Thursday, May 24, 2018 by Chad Swiatecki

The city is looking to head off a further increase in the abuse of opioid use and related health issues, and will likely fund multiple programs with area agencies next budget year to combat that problem. An agenda item set for Thursday’s City Council meeting directs City Manager Spencer Cronk to compile a list of possible actions the city could take related to opioid abuse, which is a growing public health scourge in many areas of the country and shows signs of increasing in Austin. The plan is due in time to add funding for anti-opioid programs to next year’s budget. At Tuesday’s work session, Mayor Steve Adler said the data from 2015 to 2016 showed a fivefold increase in usage, adding to concern about the use of heroin, OxyContin and other opiate derivatives. The SIMS Foundation, which provides drug counseling and mental health services for Austin musicians, has seen a dramatic increase in drug treatment costs in the past year related to opioid abuse, with three recent musician deaths from overdose. Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo said she’d like to see area librarians equipped with and trained to administer the opioid blocker naloxone because libraries are a public resource highly utilized by the homeless, who have a statistically higher risk of overdose death. Tovo said that method has been used in cities such as Denver to prevent overdose deaths from opioid abuse.

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