In late August, community representatives and partners from the Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT) assembled together for its Health Working Group Meeting to discuss and assess the role that local governments can play in combatting the opioid/heroin crisis in our region. CONNECT hosted the meeting with representatives from the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and its partners from the Emergency Medical Services field who helped CONNECT launch the CONNECT Community Paramedic Program (Click here, to learn more about the program and its Founder and Project Manager, Dan Swayze).
The energetic discussion brought about the consensus for the need for a list of actionable steps that municipalities can take to help fight this epidemic at the local government level. CONNECT is currently working to produce this document that will serve as a toolkit for municipalities that are interested in collaborating with partner agencies. It is anticipated that the document will be finalized and available this November. Examples of action items include participation in the DEA’s Drug Take Back Day on October 22nd, ensuring that fire and police agencies have and utilize Narcan kits and are aware of where to procure them, utilize borough newsletters to educate residents about drug addiction/treatment, and more.