Anchorage, AK – Monday, Mayor Dave Bronson announced the establishment of the Anchorage Opioid Taskforce. This advisory taskforce will bring together stakeholders from all walks of life, including those impacted by opioids, first responders, medical and treatment providers, public health experts, community organizations, and others. Their purpose will be to develop and advance effective strategies to prevent and combat opioid misuse and overdose deaths in Anchorage.
“The opioid crisis sweeping across our nation and Anchorage has vast consequences on human life and the well-being of our society. It is time we address this scourge head-on,” said Mayor Dave Bronson. “I look forward to the work of this taskforce and solutions they will present to combat this issue.”
The taskforce, led by the Anchorage Health Department, will be asked to initially consider four critical areas: prevention and education strategies, substance misuse treatment, overdose intervention, and criminal justice system involvement.
“Last year, drug overdoses claimed 142 lives in Anchorage, mirroring the statewide increase in drug-related mortality. This taskforce is an opportunity for us to turn the tide by bringing together key stakeholders and impacted Alaskans who have been facing this incredible challenge on their own for too long,” said Anchorage Health Department Director Joe Gerace. “We’re honored to learn from their work as we take this historic step forward together.”
The taskforce composition will include, at minimum:
- Two members impacted by opioid misuse, including at least one with lived experiences that include opioid addiction recovery Two opioid addiction treatment providers
- Two local hospital representatives, including one who specializes in Alaska Native concerns
- Two representatives of community organizations who work to address opioid misuse in Anchorage
- Three public health officials, which may include representatives of the Municipality, State, and federal government
- One police representative
- One EMS representative
Additional non-voting representatives may be added to the taskforce subcommittees at the discretion of each subcommittee. Taskforce appointments are expected in July.