Task Force to Address Substance Use Disorders
WHEREAS, more than 42,000 Americans died from opioid and heroin overdoses in 2016, and 2 million Americans suffer from substance use disorders involving prescription drugs, and 591,000 suffer substance use disorders involving heroin; and
WHEREAS, more than 1,500 residents of the state of Kansas have died from opioid or heroin overdoses since 2012, and more than 100 continue to do so each year; and
WHEREAS, opioid and heroin addiction and overdoses continue to rise within the United States and within the State of Kansas; and
WHEREAS, in 2016, drug poisoning was the underlying cause of death for more than 300 people in the state of Kansas, with 95 deaths caused by methamphetamine alone; and
WHEREAS, substance use disorder is an illness which not only affects all areas of people’s lives, but also their families, friends, and communities;
WHEREAS, while steps have already been taken to address substance use disorders in Kansas, including 2017 Kansas House Bill 2217, discussions surrounding the “Improving Outcomes for Substance-Exposed Infants and Families” event in Topeka in August 2017, grant funding from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services to Opioid Misuse Prevention Projects, and the work of the Prescription Drug and Opioid Advisory Committee, yet further measures can still be taken to prevent addiction and overdose deaths; and
WHEREAS, the severity of this crisis necessitates yet greater cooperation and collaboration of state agencies, organizations, professionals, emergency response personnel, and others with policy making authority to address substance use disorders; and
WHEREAS, the establishment of a Task Force will provide an effective and efficient mechanism for the Governor to obtain advice on a broad range of matters related to substance use disorders in Kansas.
NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Kansas, I hereby establish the Governor’s Task Force to Address Substance Use Disorders (“Task Force”):
1. Membership shall be composed of the heads of the following agencies or associations, or their designees:
a. Kansas Attorney General
b. Kansas Department of Health and Environment
c. Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services
d. Kansas Department for Children and Families
e. Kansas Department of Corrections
f. Kansas State Board of Pharmacy
g. Kansas State Board of Healing Arts
h. Kansas State Board of Nursing
i. Kansas Dental Board
j. Kansas State Board of Emergency Medical Services
k. Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas
l. Kansas Hospital Association
m. Kansas Medical Society
n. Kansas Association of Addiction Professionals
o. Kansas Pharmacists Association

2. Additional membership shall be comprised of the following persons:
a. One (1) pain management professional
b. One (1) hospice industry professional
c. One (1) representative of a Kansas nursing facility
d. One (1) representative of law enforcement
e. One (1) education professional

3. The Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, House Majority Leader, Senate Majority Leader, House Minority Leader, and Senate Minority Leader may each appoint one (1) member to serve on the Task Force.

4. The Task Force shall be chaired by the Chief Medical Officer at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Staff from the Cabinet agencies represented on the Task Force shall assist by providing relevant information and program expertise as appropriate.

5. The work of the Task Force may be facilitated by an outside entity at the discretion of the Chair.

6. Other persons with relevant experience may be invited to join the Task Force by the Governor or Chair of the Task Force.

7. The Task Force shall meet monthly, but may meet more or less frequently as its work requires and at the discretion of the Chair.

8. Members of the Task Force shall not receive compensation, subsistence, allowance or associated expenses. Officers or employees of state agencies who are appointed to the Task Force as part of their duties shall be authorized to participate on the Task Force and may claim subsistence, allowance, mileage or associated expenses as permitted by law.

9. The Task Force shall be subject to the Kansas Open Records Act and the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

10. Plans, reports, or recommendations of any nature adopted by the Task Force shall be considered advice to the Governor and Legislature, and shall not be construed as official policies, positions, or interpretations of laws, rules, or regulations by any department or agency of state government, nor shall any such department or agency be bound in any manner to consider such advice when conducting their advisory and regulatory affairs.

11. The Task Force’s duties shall be to:
a. Gather information regarding substance use disorder within the state of Kansas, particularly regarding the growing number of opioid and heroin overdoses in the state and the continued scourge of methamphetamine addiction;
b. Evaluate and leverage existing resources, tools, and initiatives already established in the Kansas healthcare continuum, notably the work and recommendations of the Kansas Prescription Drug and Opioid Advisory Committee which is funded in part by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services;
c. Investigate various response options, including distributing naloxone to first responders, more comprehensively utilizing prescribing data, and otherwise revising state policy as appropriate;
d. Examine best practices for prevention, treatment, and recovery of at-risk individuals through early detection and education for patients;
e. Advise and make recommendations to the Governor; and
f. Assist in implementing and executing a statewide response.

12. The Task Force shall submit a report including, but not limited to, its findings on substance use disorder in Kansas and the misuse of opioids, as well as its proposed response to the crisis, no later than six months from the date of this Executive Order, or as it becomes relevant during the intervening period.