Five ways local leaders will keep fighting opioid crisis
SAN ANTONIO – Local leaders are revealing how they plan to keep fighting the opioid crisis in the new year.
Last year, the San Antonio area got $20 million in grant money to get started. The Bexar County Joint Opioid Task Force helped secure 17,000 doses of Narcan, a nasal spray that reverses overdoses.
This year, the task force has five goals.
The first goal is a medication-assisted treatment program involving a pill you might not have heard of: buprenorphine.
"The great thing about buprenorphine is it can be prescribed to you. You can take one pill a day. And it works kind of like a nicotine patch does,” says task force coordinator T.J. Mayes.
He says the barrier has long been that doctors need a waiver to prescribe it. Now, the task force will work to get more doctors trained.
"Every doctor with a buprenorphine prescription capability is a walking treatment center,” Mayes says.
The second goal is to work with school districts to educate teens.
The third goal is to work in neighborhoods to prevent babies from being born addicted.
Goal number four tackles the illegal drug market by starting an overdose mapping program so the DEA can get real-time data of where in the city overdoses are happening.
"And they can identify the source of shipments of fentanyl based on where Narcan is being applied,” Mayes says.
The fifth goal for the new year is to work to reduce the stigma of abuse so people know it’s okay to come forward and get help.
Please join us Thursday, January 10 as we dig deeper into the opioid crisis through "Your Voice, Your Future," a town hall live from Laredo featuring national experts and families impacted by drug abuse.