Kansas governor establishes task force to combat drug abuse

March 1, 2018 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed an executive order creating a task force to combat opioid and methamphetamine abuse.

The task force created Thursday will be headed by the leaders of 16 state agencies and also will include medical and law enforcement personnel with expertise on substance abuse.

Colyer said that the opioid and meth epidemics are “very real” in Kansas. He noted that opioid overdoses in the state have climbed from 35 in 2000 to 159 in 2016.

The governor is a surgeon and said: “I’ve had patients die. I’ve had patients see their lives ruined, and I’ve seen the recover as well.”

The task force will examine other states’ strategies to determine what works and what doesn’t before laying out a plan of action for Kansas.