Leaders Meet For The First Time To Discuss Georgia's Opioid Problem

Oct 25, 2018

Federal and state agencies working on an opioid task force gathered online for the first time this week.

The Region IV Opioid Crisis Coalition federal interagency workgroup, which includes Georgia, is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The meeting was closed to members of the press, but Renee Ellmers, who represents the region, said the purpose of the meeting involved making sure federal funding for the opioid crisis was being used effectively for Georgia communities.

“So that we can make sure that this funding is headed in the right direction and is being addressed at the community level — the local community — as well as giving the states opportunity to talk to each other about best practices,” Ellmers said.

Topics addressed among the 249 leaders included access to housing for people with substance use disorder, workforce development and funding streams. 

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One of the areas of funding interest centered around states that could show high rates of opioid death and that could provide disaster relief work for those in recovery, department spokesman Deric Gilliard said. 

“Community development block grants and viable livable communities were also areas that were explored, as well as a focus on housing for those leaving prison,” Gilliard said.

Inside Georgia's Opioid Crisis

Presenters included officials with the U.S. departments of Justice, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and Veterans Affairs as well as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The group will meet four times a year to continue its work in the South.