The Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention met for the final time Monday. The group was created to respond to the growing drug abuse epidemic. Now, a new, permanent commission will take its place.
The temporary task force was created to study the state’s drug epidemic and recommend actions by the governor. A permanent replacement, the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse, will begin meeting in 2017.
The original group showcased leaders from many diverse professional sectors, including representatives from the Indiana Chiefs of Police as well as representatives from the insurance, medical and faith-based communities.
The new 18-member commission is made up almost entirely of heads of Indiana government agencies.
Task force co-chair John Wernert says that’s by design. He says the first task force was about learning and that’s why its meeting locations moved around the state. The new commission will be focused on directing policy and working with the legislature.
“Now, going forward, whether it’s legislation or actually changing public policy, we’ll be able to do that with the agencies,” Wernert says.
All in all, the original task force made 19 recommendations over 15 months, such as endorsing opioid prescribing guidelines and recommending changes to the state’s drug monitoring system.