(EL PASO COUNTY) – County health experts and their partners are working to mitigate the damage from the opioid epidemic in El Paso County.
“El Paso County Public Health has been working with the state to really reach out in our community, starting with our providers,” said Dr. Robin Johnson, the medical officer for community and clinical partnerships for El Paso County Public Health.
Johnson said new and improved prescribing practices have not only been discussed, but are beginning to take root, “I think our physicians, as I have the opportunity to speak with them, are very receptive,” she said.
However this issue isn’t just an issue with doctors, it’ one for the whole community, “More than just our prescribers, we really need to be engaging in all the different agencies and demographics,” stated Dr. Johnson.
So El Paso County has joined with the Community Health Partnership, a group that was already dedicated to bringing together people and resources to fight the epidemic that is in our “backyard.”
“What we’re facing is an opioid epidemic in our community
where the death rates are continuing to rise”
In 2016, CHP formed the Coalition for Prevention, Addiction Education and Recovery (CPAR) formed from stakeholders inside El Paso County. CPAR proceeded with several assessments creating several paths to fighting this crisis; However, funding is required to make an impact.
“We have a true public health disaster and the money isn’t coming in,” said Mary Steiner, community program manager for CHP.
But due to planning, CHP, the backbone organization for CPAR, has a course of action ready to go when the money comes becomes available.
“We know what we need to do, we just need the funding,” Steiner said.