LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Opioid abuse is a growing problem in Louisville, but Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says the city now has a plan to stop it.

On March 16, Fischer, along with Dr. Sarah Moyer, the director of Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, released "Coming Together for Hope, Healing and Recovery," a report and two-year action plan to address Louisville's substance abuse problem.

According to a news release, the report includes "a science-based analysis of the use of illegal drugs, tobacco and alcohol in Louisville," as well as "ways to accelerate the city's fight against drug abuse."

The report is the result of a meeting of the minds between people in recovery from substance abuse issues, leaders of nonprofits, members of law enforcement, health care institutions, social work experts, school officials, concerned parents and scholars.

"America is facing one of the most serious drug epidemics in history, with opioid use taking a devastating toll," Fischer said in a statement. "We're proud of the efforts we've taken to fight it thus far, but we know we have to do more. Working together and implementing these recommendations will put us on a stronger path toward hope, healing and recovery."

The report recommends that the following actions be taken over the next two years:

  • New policies should be enacted to establish safe and reliable sober living residences, increasing quality recovery options.
  • Diversion from jails and emergency rooms should be expanded through programs like the Centerstone Living Room Project.
  • Access to syringes and naloxone should be expanded, in order to increase harm reduction education and opioid overdose prevention.
  • The stigma around substance abuse should be reduced, and the public should be made to understand that substance abuse disorder is a chronic illness. Additionally, access to crisis support should be publicized.
  • Recovery support should be expanded by advocating for more affordable record expungement to aid those in recovery.
  • Peer support in the emergency room should be increased in order to better connect patients to treatment.
  • Employers should be connected with treatment providers to increase job placement opportunities for those working to overcome substance abuse.
  • Quality metrics to measure the effectiveness of treatment providers should be developed.

"Finding solutions to the problem of substance use disorder and creating a more resilient community requires the involvement of all of us," said Dr. Moyer, in a statement. "Specific organizations and individuals across the community have stepped up to champion each of the plan's goals. This greatly increases our chances for success and making Louisville a city where everyone and every community can thrive."

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