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City councillor hoping to expand opioid taskforce

A Grande Prairie City Councillor is hoping to push the Grande Prairie Opioid Community Response Taskforce in a new direction, one he thinks will only help expand the reach of the task force amid an ever-growing opioid crisis.

Councillor Dylan Bressey says while the taskforce to this point has done unbelievable work in trying to mitigate the harm of the deadly drug in the city, he believes it’s time to open the doors to other parties for their opinions and input.

“To date, it’s been mostly front line agencies having a very working group type meeting, so, we’d like to pivot a little bit and bring in more organizations throughout the community who have a broader view of what’s going on in our workplaces, homes and social settings to help inform our work,” he says.

Bressey adds he believes in many cases across the province, frontline agencies aren’t working together as efficiently as possible. He says when you’ve got very siloed work going on throughout a community, it’s difficult to create a more thorough, multi-faceted plan.

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Bressey says it’s important, now more than ever, to try and get a firmer grip on the opioid crisis in Grande Prairie.

“I think council supports the direction the task force is facing, the opioid crisis is something that impacts absolutely everyone in our community, and so we should be doing the work of getting the entire community involved.”

He adds he would like to see additional representation from both management and workers in private industry, from the education sector, and more non-profits who aren’t traditional opioid response groups. As of the end of June 2020, 10 people have died in the city as a result of an opioid-related overdose. The Community Opioid Response Task Force was launched in December 2017.

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