BOISE, Idaho — The Opioid and Substance Use advisory group held its first ever meeting Thursday.
The 22-member group was created through an executive order by Governor Brad Little earlier this year.
"The magnitude of the problem is enormous. Most people don't realize the life expectancy of Americans, for the first time, has gone down for the last two years because of this exact problem," said Governor Little. "This is a big deal to me and to the state. There's no partisanship to this."
For almost six hours, the task force discussed prescription drug tracking, alternative treatments,naloxone distribution, education and prevention.
The group has 18 months to make suggestions to the governor on how to tackle the growing opioid epidemic in Idaho.
Little says Idaho is already making progress, passing the most progressive Narcan law in the country, making it easy to get the overdose reversal medication. Little also says Idaho has improved from fifth to 25th in the nation for abuse of prescription pain relievers.
Still, Little says it is not fast enough for him. So the the advisory group will be tasked with speeding up the efforts to streamline prevention and recovery activities to fight the opioid epidemic. The advisory group will find ways to reduce the number of opioids prescribed.
The panel will meet every other month and travel across the state to gather solutions and suggestions to share with the governor.