Sheriff Asa Buck and District Attorney Scott Thomas Help Lead State’s Efforts to Address the Opioid Crisis through the North Carolina Law Enforcement Opioid Task Force
BEAUFORT, NC – Sheriff Asa Buck and District Attorney Scott Thomas are helping shape North Carolina’s response to the opioid epidemic through a statewide task force facilitated by Attorney General Josh Stein. The North Carolina Law Enforcement Opioid Task Force is helping coordinate and support the efforts of local, state, and federal law enforcement authorities to confront the opioid epidemic. The group – which includes representatives from more than 30 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and organizations – meets quarterly and works regularly to address these important issues.
“North Carolina’s law enforcement officers are on the front lines of this crisis and see the impact of the epidemic on families up-close, every day,” said Attorney General Stein. “The North Carolina Law Enforcement Opioid Task Force is committed to protecting communities by supporting law enforcement and by enabling officers to more effectively combat this devastating epidemic.”
The group has made progress in a number of areas to better assist law enforcement efforts to address the opioid epidemic in communities across the state, including:
● Supporting strategies and policies to address prescription drug diversion from legal to illegal channels and to address heroin and fentanyl trafficking.
● Identifying protocols and best practices to protect law enforcement officers from health dangers illicit fentanyl poses.
● Supporting state and local efforts to divert qualified individuals into appropriate detox, treatment, and recovery programs, as well as programs that enable law enforcement officers to carry naloxone to protect themselves and others.
● Coordinating and supporting efforts to gather better data on drug seizures, naloxone deployment, overdoses, and overdose reversals.
Information and input from law enforcement authorities on this Task Force was instrumental in the development of the STOP Act, the Synthetic Opioid Control Act, and other legislation and appropriations designed to address the opioid epidemic.
Over the past several months, as a result of the group’s efforts to protect law enforcement officers from the risks associated with handling illicit fentanyl, the State Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services, Carolinas Poison Center, and the Department of Justice developed a protocol for suspected exposure to fentanyl and a bulletin on fentanyl safety for first responders, which Attorney General Stein distributed to every sheriff and chief of police in the state.