Establishing the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council

Executive Orders
Posted on August 8, 2017

WHEREAS the United States is experiencing a drug-overdose epidemic with deaths rising among men and women of all races and ages, and of these drug-related deaths, more than three out of five involve an opioid;

WHEREAS local medical examiners’ reports verify that the use of heroin and prescription opioids has greatly worsened Alabama’s increasing overdose-death rate, and that other powerful opioids, including fentanyl and car­fentanil, are now present in Alabama, contributing to the State’s overdose deaths;

WHEREAS the use of prescription opioids is linked to use of heroin, and nearly 30,000 Alabamians over the age of 17 are estimated to be addicted to prescription painkillers or heroin;

WHEREAS opioid misuse and addiction affect other critical concerns for our State, including crime, child welfare, education, infectious diseases, infant mortality, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and overcrowding of jails and prisons;

WHEREAS prevention, treatment, recovery-support, and other behavioral health services for substance-use disorders are extremely limited in Alabama; and

WHEREAS notable efforts have been made across the State to address select aspects of the drug-overdose crisis, but the complexities of this epidemic require systemic change and the development of a unified, comprehensive strategy to guide, support and evaluate this change;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kay Ivey, Governor of the State of Alabama, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Alabama, do hereby establish the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council (“the Council”), effective immediately, as further set forth below:

  1. Purpose. The Council shall study the State’s current opioid crisis and identify a focused set of strategies to reduce the number of deaths and other adverse consequences of the opioid crisis in Alabama. Spe­cifically, the Council’s purpose shall be to:
    1. Advise and assist the Governor in the development of a comprehensive, coordinated strategy to combat Alabama’s opioid crisis;
    2. Gather and review data characterizing the opioid crisis facing Alabama, including the threat of synthetic opioids;
    3. Review strategies and actions already taken in Alabama to combat the opioid crisis;
    4. Review strategies and actions of other States and the National Governors Association Compact to Fight Opioid Addiction;  and
    5. Develop a comprehensive strategic plan to abate the opioid crisis in Alabama.
  2. Strategic action plan. The Council shall develop and submit a strategic action plan to the Governor by December 31, 2017, that establishes recommendations for policy, regulatory and legislative actions to address the overdose crisis in Alabama. This plan shall include clear goals, objectives and metrics for measuring progress in combating the addiction and overdose crisis and reducing opioid-overdose deaths in the State. The plan may include recommendations for:
    1. Improving surveillance of opioid misuse, addiction and overdose;
    2. Expanding access to appropriate prevention, treatment, and recovery support services for opioid disorders;
    3. Improving access to naloxone;
    4. Increasing awareness of the overdose epidemic;
    5. Reducing the stigma associated with substance-use disorders;
    6. Improving prevention education for all Alabamians;
    7. Enhancing the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program;
    8. Promoting evidence-based guidelines for pain management; and
    9. Improving coordination and collaboration among relevant stakeholders.
  3. Implementation and annual reports. The Council shall continually monitor and evaluate implementation of the State’s strategic action plan and provide periodic plan updates and recommendations to the Governor as necessary. An annual report shall be submitted to the Governor in December of each year to provide a detailed evaluation of the Council’s activities and of initiatives undertaken to combat Alabama’s opioid-use epidemic.
  4. Membership. The Council shall consist of the following members or their designees: (a) the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health; (b) the State Health Officer; (c) the State Attorney General; (d) the Chair of the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners; (e) a physician appointed by the Medical Association of the State of Alabama; (f) the Executive Secretary of the Alabama Board of Pharmacy; (g) the Executive Director of the Alabama Pharmacy Association; (h) the Executive Director of the Alabama Dental Association; (i) the Executive Director of the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners; (j) the Superintendent of the Alabama Department of Education; (k) the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Human Resources; (l) the Commissioner of the  Alabama Department of Insurance; (m) the Director of the Alabama Department of Economic and  Community Affairs; (n) the Commissioner of the  Alabama Medicaid Agency; (o) the Alabama Administrative Director of Courts; (p) the Executive Director of the  Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles; (q) the Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency; (r) the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections; (s) the Managing Director of the Alabama Regional Poison Control Center; (t) the Chairman of the  Alabama Drug Abuse Task Force; (u) the President of the Alabama Methadone  Treatment Association; (v) a representative of the Jefferson County Pills to  Needles Collaborative; (w) the President of the Alabama District Attorneys’ Association; (x) two House members appointed by the Speaker of the  Alabama House of Representatives; (y) two Senators appointed by the President Pro Tem. of the Alabama Senate; (z) two individuals, in recovery from opioid addiction, appointed by the Recovery Organization of Support Specialists; (aa) two family members, of persons who are or have been addicted to opioids, appointed by the Council on Substance Abuse ­ NCADD; (bb) additional individuals as deemed appropriate by the Governor.
  5. Leadership. The Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the State Health Officer, and the State Attorney General shall serve as co-chairs of the Council. They shall have authority to:
    1. Oversee implementation of this Executive Order and the work of the Council;
    2. Establish the Council’s agenda and convene meetings;
    3. Create committees and workgroups as necessary, in addition to the committees named in this Executive Order, which may include members of the Council and others, as appropriate;
    4. Ensure collaboration between entities in the development of strategies to address the State’s opioid crisis; and
    5. Identify additional support as needed.
  6. Meetings. The Council shall assemble for its first meeting within four weeks of execution of this Executive Order. Members may participate in meetings by conference call.
  7. Standing committees. There shall be six standing committees of the Council as follows: (a) Data; (b) Treatment-Recovery; (c) Law Enforcement; (d) Prescriber-Dispenser; (e) Rescue (Naloxone); (f) Prevention-Education.
  8. Administrative support. Logistical and technical assistance for the Council shall be provided by the Associate Commissioner of the Men­tal Health and Substance Abuse Services Division of the Alabama Dep­artment of Mental Health.
  9. State agency cooperation. State agencies and other state-funded entities shall cooperate with the Council and provide information requested by the Council.
  10. Prior related orders. This order supersedes Executive Order No. 700 (formerly Executive Order No. 27), signed December 15, 2016, creating the Alabama Council on Opioid Misuse and Addiction. Where there is any conflict with any provision of any previously signed Executive Order, the provisions of this Executive Order shall prevail.

DONE AND ORDERED this 8th day of August, 2017.

Kay Ivey


John H. Merrill
Secretary of State