Opioid emergency action plan needed

DEAR EDITOR:

According to Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, fentanyl from China is being brought into our country. The current situation appears comparable to the early stages of the drug epidemic forced on the Chinese during the Opium Wars of the 1840s. Some claim that over a quarter of the Chinese adult males were addicted to opium by 1905.

So, isn’t it high time for Trumbull County authorities to establish a proven, National Incident Management System (NIMS) to combat the epidemic? A NIMS organization would consolidate; planning, operations, finance / administration and logistics under a single, or unified, command structure in Trumbull County.

Before throwing money at the problem, wise taxpayers should demand a viable Emergency Action Plan (EAP) from their elected officials. At minimum, the NIMS Incident Commander should be delegated the authority to require consultation from any publicly funded stakeholder. The first task of the NIMS team should be to write the EAP. The plan should list measurable and feasible objectives which, when attained, will reduce the causes as well as the symptoms of the epidemic. Once approved, a NIMS EAP will help commissioners adapt strategies (ends, ways and means) and help guide government and non-government resources toward a publicly acceptable, self-regulating condition known as an “end state.”

Let’s not allow the disunity of numerous stakeholders, vying for, or passing the buck to inhibit realistic solutions to the problem. It is time for positive and active steps to stop and reduce the heroin / fentanyl death rate. We cannot wait until it “dies” away or hope and pray that it goes away on its own. Let’s create an emergency action plan through a NIMS process or risk repeating old lessons again.

JARI J. KARTTUNEN

North Bloomfield

COMMENTS