Heroin crisis: Palm Beach County League of Cities calls on governor for help

A group of elected leaders representing Palm Beach County’s 39 municipalities has joined other public officials in seeking state help to fight the opioid epidemic.

By a 16-0 vote, the governing board of the Palm Beach County League of Cities approved a resolution Wednesday asking Gov. Rick Scott “to declare a state of emergency over the opioid epidemic.”

The league’s resolution was passed a day after Palm Beach County Chief Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath publicly called on Scott to declare a public health emergency.

Jupiter Vice Mayor Ilan Kaufer

“I just feel that it’s important that we try to fight this head on with as many resources as we can,’’ said Ilan Kaufer, the vice mayor for Jupiter, who proposed the resolution.

“I’m sure the governor understands this is a serious issue and I’m hopeful he will provide the state with the resources to save more lives.’’

Aside from the county’s League of Cities and Colbath, other public officials and agencies who have asked Scott to declare a health emergency over the epidemic include Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, the Village of Wellington and the Martin County Commission.

Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig was among the 16 members who supported the league’s resolution – even though she refused to sign the village’s council’s letter to Scott earlier this month.

Gerwig said she would have signed the village council letter if it had been worded differently and discussed first in public.

Florida Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, and the Florida Senate Democratic Caucus have also sent letters urging Scott to declare the heroin crisis a public health emergency.

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