CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nueces County commissioners are taking action to address the growing opioid epidemic, voting today to create a task force to deal with the problem.
A small army made up of police, firefighters, the district attorney's office and CCISD will form part of the opioid task force, and their mission is to do one thing -- combat the local opioid epidemic.
Local officials say the opioid statistics in Nueces County are alarming.
"When you are three times more likely to have an overdose in your county than, let's say, in Harris county, or in the valley, that's a problem," said Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales.
And the problem is only getting bigger.
The Centers for Disease Control reports in 2017, the number of deaths involving opioids was six times higher than in 1999.
Numbers such as these are also being seen in the Coastal Bend.
"We want to drive those statistics way down," Canales said. "Our statistics for opioid use and our statistics for opioid overdose are alarmingly high in Nueces County."
That's why the opioid task force was formed.
It is comprised of a network of elected officials and healthcare professionals who aim to help address the problem. With help from the Nueces County Medical Society Alliance, county officials and the task force hope to accomplish several things: education, prevention and support.
That involves visiting high schools to talk about opioid abuse, making sure NARCAN is readily available to every first responder and police officer, preventing the start of addiction by discussing pain management with doctors and medical professionals and by providing support and resources for those who are facing opioid addiction.
The creation of an opioid task force in Nueces County will also make it easier for the county to get state and federal grants to help support their cause.
The task force will have its first official meeting Tuesday, and plan for those meetings to eventually be open to the public.
Agencies interested in taking part in the task force are encouraged to contact the county judge's office. Information can be found at KRISTV.com