Governor Jeff Colyer is creating a task force to study ways to fight drug abuse in Kansas through prevention and treatment. Colyer has signed an executive order bringing together state agency heads, medical professionals and law enforcement.
He says it’s a growing problem in Kansas, with opioid overdose deaths climbing from 35 in 2000 to more than 150 in 2016.
“In my own medical practice I’ve seen first-hand the impact of substance abuse disorders," Colyer said. "I’ve had patients die. I’ve had patients see their lives ruined, and I’ve also seen them recover, as well.”
Colyer says he wants recommendations within six months. The governor says some potential actions could include better tracking of prescription drugs and wider distribution of medication that can reverse an opioid overdose.