Mayor Victoria Woodards will represent the City of Tacoma on the Mayors’ Institute on Opioids hosted by the National League of Cities as part of a five-member delegation representing organizations in Tacoma and Pierce County including:
- Conor McCarthy, At-Large Tacoma City Council Member
- Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH, Director of Health, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department
- Patti Jackson-Kidder, Chief, Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Corrections Bureau
- Jason Escareno, Pierce County Council Member Derek Young’s Designee and Senior Human Services Legislative Analyst
One of six delegations selected nationwide, Mayor Woodards’ delegation is the only one from a location west of the Mississippi.
The Mayors’ Institute on Opioids will provide an opportunity for local leaders to engage in practical, solutions-oriented discussions and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. The immersive three-day event will be followed by 12 months of ongoing expert assistance tailored to each participating city’s needs. The work will build on local efforts already underway.
“I am proud to be able to bring this opportunity to Tacoma and Pierce County,” said Mayor Woodards. “Tacoma Council Member McCarthy and Pierce County Council Member Young have demonstrated great leadership on the County-City Opioid Task Force convened last year, and I hope the resources provided by the Mayors’ Institute on Opioids will support the good work they are doing with other leaders to address the harm caused by opioids in Tacoma and Pierce County.”
“Public health interventions such as secure medicine return, access to treatment, and safe needle exchange support safe communities and save lives, but they are only the beginning,” said Dr. Chen. “We must work together to overcome this epidemic that is hurting our community.”
Pierce County experienced a rate of 10.8 opioid overdose deaths per 100,000 in 2016, a number higher than the statewide rate of 9.4.
In 2016, five percent of Pierce County high school seniors said they used pain killers to get high. In the same year, eight percent of high school seniors said they had misused someone else’s prescription.
Other cities participating in the Mayors’ Institute on Opioids are Knoxville, Tenn.; Madison, Wis.; Huntington, W.Va.; Manchester, N.H.; and New Bedford, Mass.