Lack of member participation forces county drug commission to en - Tucson News Now

Lack of member participation forces county drug commission to end

PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Pima County Tucson Commission on Addiction, Prevention and Treatment is ending its nearly 20 year run as a 20 to 27 member group which advises the city and county on drug policy.

It's an all volunteer group that is made up of health care providers, social service, and drug treatment agencies throughout the county.

However, it has had difficulty in maintaining its membership and momentum on drug issues.

For the past six months, the commission has not been able to draw a quorum for its meetings so they have been canceled.

It's not a good time to end according to some past and present members because of the opioid crisis, which, according to Governor Doug Ducey calls a "health care emergency."

Two people a day die from opioid overdoses in the state.

While overdose deaths have not risen to crisis proportions in Pima County, it is still a concern.

"All policy begins here," said Kim Ward-Wallace, a member for two years who laments the lack of participation. "Policy being made without that input, kind of puts the community in a vulnerable position."

When the Governor declared a health state of emergency he said "We must do more" but here in Pima County and Tucson, without the commission we are doing less.

"We're all doing things in the community, service agencies, and health care providers," said Roy Tullgren, former commission chair. "But we all need to come together to say how can we address it better together."

The board may be reorganized with fewer members but that is a decision that has not been made, as yet.

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