By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
Governor Kay Ivey has created a new council to fight opioid addiction in Alabama.
Ivey signed an Executive Order to create the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council on Tuesday changing the already existing Alabama Council on Opioid Misuse and Addiction. The Council was created to fight the ongoing Opioid epidemic currently happening around the United States.
“Opioid addiction is a major problem in Alabama. We are a top prescribing state with hundreds of deaths each year from overdoses. It’s a serious situation that all citizens need to be aware of and help us with,” Ivey said in a statement. “We must find ways to curtail this crisis in Alabama. I look forward to reviewing the council’s recommendations for strategies to reduce the number of deaths and other effects caused by opioid misuse in our state.”
The new additions to the Council include a new co-chair spot for Attorney General Steve Marshall to join. Marshall said he was “honored” to join the council.
“Opioid abuse, in the form of prescription opioids and heroin, has reached epidemic levels across the country, and Alabama has more opioid prescriptions per capita than any other state,” Marshall said in a statement. “Opioid addiction, including the use of deadly drugs like fentanyl, is killing Alabamians, destroying families and placing others, including law enforcement, at risk. This crisis can no longer be ignored.”
Marshall went on to say he would be committed to working with the other members of the Council.
“Our work will not be easy, but it must be undertaken with urgency,” Marshall said. “I look forward to joining in this effort to remove the destructive scourge of opioid addiction from our state.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, 736 people in Alabama died from drug overdoses in 2015. The CDC also reports that doctors in Alabama wrote opioid prescriptions for patients at a rate higher than the national average.
Additional members of the Council include executive directors of four different medical associations, the commissioner of the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the managing director of the Alabama Regional Poison Control Center, and the president of the Alabama District Attorneys’ Association.