Huntington Mayor Steve Williams has been appointed as co-chair of a U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) task force that aims to collaborate across cities on ways to reduce substance abuse, highlight prevention strategies, increase access to and improve treatment and recovery support services for individuals.
Williams will work alongside Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, who serves as chairman of the USCM’s Substance Abuse, Prevention and Recovery Services Task Force. The task force was created in 2015 in response to the alarming and ongoing national epidemic of substance abuse in communities and to improve prevention, treatment and recovery support services for businesses and individuals.
“Steve Williams has been a national trusted leader on substance abuse, and specifically the opioid crisis,” said Bryan Barnett, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and mayor of Rochester Hills, Michigan. “He has told the Huntington story and shared both the successes and lessons learned from his community. I'm thrilled to appoint Mayor Williams, and look forward to his national leadership on this important issue."
The USCM task force works to identify effective and innovative tools for addressing the national substance abuse epidemic into all functions of city government, from public health to public works and from outreach and recovery to operations and resources. It also serves as a clearinghouse of best practices and advocacy efforts to unite mayors in the fight against opioid misuse and abuse – as well as other harmful substances nationwide.
“I am grateful to President Barnett for the confidence he has placed in me to co-chair the Substance Use, Prevention and Recovery Services Task Force,” Williams said. “I admire Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and look forward to being able to work alongside him as we work to defeat the greatest existential threat facing our cities and our nation.”
Williams was one of four mayors in 2016 to serve on a joint national task force created by the National League of Cities and National Association of Counties to address the nation’s opioid and heroin abuse epidemic.
The City-County Task Force Addressing Heroin and Opioid Abuse, comprised of city and county leaders from across the country, aimed to enhance awareness, facilitate peer exchanges, and identify sound policy and partnership solutions.
The joint task force published a national summary report of city-county collaboration, focusing on community prevention and overdose response, effective treatment options, public safety enforcement and supply reduction. The report can be viewed at https://opioidaction.org/.
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