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Idaho leaders unveil plan to prevent opioid-related deaths in future years

This Aug. 15, 2017 photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. (Patrick Sison / Associated Press)
This Aug. 15, 2017 photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. (Patrick Sison / Associated Press)

Treasure Valley leaders Monday announced a six-goal plan to combat Idaho’s opioid crisis through 2021.

The announcement came at a meeting of the Treasure Valley Partnership according to a news release from Mike Journee, Boise’s city manager. Mayors and commissioners from Ada, Canyon and Owyhee counties gathered at Boise’s City Hall West, 333 N. Mark Stall Place to discuss the plan, which is broken up into six focus areas: resources, collaboration, law enforcement diversion, prevention education, the reduction of stigma, and treatment.

Much of the plan hinges on agencies working together. One of the goals, for instance, is to develop a social media platform to share resources across departments. Another goal is to “reduce duplication and enhance collaboration,” across the board.

Leaders also expressed a desire to make information more available to the public. Other goals included compiling a list of treatment options and a public list of “Naloxone resources” — Naloxone being the dominant drug used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose.

Other goals are more conceptual. Leaders want to reduce stigmatization of opioid addiction through use of a public media campaign and an increase in education about opioid addiction.

The ultimate goal, according to the release, is to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 50 percent by 2021.

The plan comes during an increase in opioid-related deaths and arrests. In 2013, for instance, Boise saw only a single reported opioid-related death. In 2017, there were 96 opioid-related deaths.

The announcement comes after an earlier meeting of the Treasure Valley Partnership in early June. At that meeting, health care professionals, law enforcement officials and elected leaders — more than 60 people in all — laid the groundwork for the plan unveiled Monday.

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