Governor's Opioid and Substance Use Disorder Advisory group makes recommendations

Posted at 5:38 PM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 19:38:53-05

CALDWELL, ID — Governor Brad Little wants to help solve the problem of opioid misuse and addiction in Idaho. He's tasked his opioid advisory group with finding key answers like best practices in other states, policies directing law enforcement, and mandating the reporting of overdose deaths.

On Wednesday, the advisory board voted on three recommendations, which will be released next week.

Anne Lawler, executive director for the Idaho State Board of Medicine, says she hopes to gain information on what options they have to help with this crisis.

"I would love to see more patients and families be educated about the issues with opioids so that when they are seeing a provider, one of our licensees, that they know the questions to ask as well," said Lawler.

She says one of her biggest concerns is having limited resources in such a rural state.

"It's hard to attract providers to the state who are experts in this and actually, and I believe we don't even have a single addictionologist, board-certified in the state. We have a very small number of psychiatrists, for example. The problem is for treating opioid use disorder, substance use disorder. We don't have the resources we need. We need to figure out how to get those professionals to come to Idaho and not just to be in the large urban areas, but also out in the rural areas."

CEO of Marimn Health, Helo Hancock, says prevention is critical in rural areas like Plummer, Idaho, where the facility is located.

"Before it sets in is one of our primary focuses on health in our community. So, those are the kinds of things we'll be bringing back, lessons learned, and other innovative modalities we can implement on the reservation. Still, it's an exciting discussion and one that I'm very proud to be a part of."

There are three more meetings taking place in February, April, and June.