The Pasco County Commission has determined what the makeup will be for the county’s opioid task force.
The appointed board will serve to advise commissioners, regarding expenditures of funds the county will receive from a settlement involving national prescription opiate litigation.
Forming the advisory body is a necessary component for the county to qualify for a portion of the settlement proceeds.
The group will develop an abatement plan that identifies strategies currently being utilized to respond to the opioid epidemic, and will present the plan to the county board by Dec. 1.
- The Pasco County Fire Rescue fire chief or designee
- The Pasco County superintendent of schools or designee
- The Pasco County sheriff, or his/her designee
- The Pasco assistant county administrator for public services, or designee
- A representative from New Port Richey and Zephyrhills, who will alternate
- The director of the Florida Department of Health Pasco County, or designee
- A person with subject matter expertise in public health or addiction, who is employed by a provider of opioid-related services in Pasco County, who is nominated to the task force by the county administrator and approved by the county board
- The chief judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit or designee
- A representative from Pasco Alliance for Substance Addiction Prevention (Pasco ASAP), or its designee
- A person with subject matter expertise in public health or addiction, who is retired, who is nominated to the task force by the county administrator and appointed by the county board
The biggest point of contention was whether or not a member of the county board should serve on the task force.
Commissioner Christina Fitzpatrick advocated for having a commissioner on the task force and that she would like to serve in that capacity.
Commissioner Mike Moore was adamantly opposed, saying the task force should be made up of professionals in the field.
“I don’t think any commissioner should be on it. We need to leave it to the doctors, the nurses, the licensed mental health counselors, the psychiatrists, the psychologists, somebody from the sheriff’s office because they have somebody that’s dedicated to this issue, probably somebody from fire rescue, as well, that treats this on a regular basis, that deals with this on a regular basis. Let them bring this back to us, then we’ll make the decisions from there,” Moore said.
But Fitzpatrick said: “I would like to be on that board. I have been involved with ASAP and substance-exposed newborns since 2012.”
Moore, however, prevailed when he made a successful motion to ensure no board members were named to a seat on the advisory board.
Initially, the county’s assistant county administrator for public services, or designee, will chair the task force. After that, the task force will select its own chair. Seven members of the task force must be in attendance, for the group to have a quorum.
Published September 01, 2021