Legislature creates Opioid Task Force to tackle deadly drug crisis

Posted: February 17, 2017 | Senator Jackson

Order by Sen. Jackson aims to stem public health epidemic that claims one life daily

AUGUSTA — The Legislature on Thursday voted unanimously to create a new Task Force to Address the Opioid Crisis in the State. The Task Force will be comprised on lawmakers and experts in the field of addiction, treatment and law enforcement, who will work together to propose comprehensive legislation to push back the tide of drug abuse and death.

The Task Force was created through passage of a joint order sponsored by Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson, of Allagash.

“Overdose claims the life of at least one Mainer every single day,” said Sen. Jackson. “Drug addiction is killing our children, our brothers and sisters, our friends and coworkers. This public health crisis doesn’t care where you come from, what your background is, how much money you make or what language you speak. It can come for anyone, and it’s going to take all of us to stop it. By bringing together policymakers and experts, it’s my hope that we can take meaningful steps to save Maine lives.”

The Task Force will include:

  • Four members from the Maine Senate;
  • Four members from the Maine House of Representatives;
  • One member who is a hospital administrator;
  • One member representing the interests of law enforcement;
  • One member representing the interests of service providers at opioid treatment facilities;
  • One member representing a statewide association of physicians;
  • One member who is recovering from opioid addiction;
  • One member representing the interests of providers of substance abuse and recovery services;
  • One member who is a physician specializing in addiction treatment;
  • The presiding officers of the Legislature will also extend invitations to the governor and the attorney general, or their designees, to serve on the Task Force, as well as a representative of the judicial branch.

The Task Force is charged with producing its first report and proposed legislation no later than April 30 for consideration during this legislative session. It must produce a second report and proposed legislation by December 6 for consideration during the 2018 legislative session.

The presiding officers of the Legislature will announce the Task Force’s membership in the coming weeks.