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Jacksonville moves toward next step in opioid response

On Tuesday, a Jacksonville City Council committee approved legislation that would ramp up the city’s response to the opioid abuse epidemic.

On Tuesday, a Jacksonville City Council committee unanimously approved legislation that would ramp up the city’s response to the opioid abuse epidemic.

2019-56, sponsored by Councilman Bill Gulliford, would establish a donation-funded trust fund to address the problem.

The legislation would set up a nine-person panel of Council-confirmed Mayoral appointees (the “Opioid Abuse Prevention Committee”), and a separate five-person panel to administer grants (“Opioid Trust Fund Grants Committee.”)

Grants from the fund could run the gamut: from below $20,000 to $150,000 and over.

Gulliford, a Jacksonville Beach Republican in his final term on the Council, has successfully pushed for a city remedy to the opioid crisis.

In 2017, he pushed for a $1.5 million, six-month pilot program to fund inpatient treatment for those afflicted.

Some Council members required convincing then, such as the one who said Gulliford was trying to “guilt council members to death over people dying.”

The pilot program performed well and under budget, leading to an expansion in 2018.

And the bill in committee is the next logical step, mobilizing the private sector in response.

The bill has two more committee stops (Rules and Finance). If it clears those panels, it will be considered by the full Council on Feb. 26.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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