Rx Task Force has plans to reapproach City Council about possible substance tax question in 2017 | SteamboatToday.com

Rx Task Force has plans to reapproach City Council about possible substance tax question in 2017

Many of today's most addictive drugs are not being sold by drug dealers on street corners but can be found in almost every home inside the medicine cabinet. Opiates have long been used by physicians to help their patients deal with pain, but one of the worst side affects of opiates is addiction.
John F. Russell

— A community group that has been working to fight opioid addiction is hoping to find some new funding sources for its cause in the new year.

The Rx Task Force is working on a plan to ask the Steamboat Springs City Council to endorse a potential ballot initiative that would ask voters to put an additional tax on certain substances to help fund substance addiction prevention and treatment.

Ken Davis, co-founder of the Rx Task Force, said Tuesday he thinks the proposed ballot initiative the group will seek will be similar to the one the City Council narrowly voted down in a 4-3 decision in August.

The proposal would have asked voters to approve an additional 2 percent tax on the sales of marijuana, alcohol and smokeless tobacco in the city limits.

Some council members who voted against the proposal said they would be open to considering the measure in 2017, but proponents of the tax measure needed to have a better plan in place for how the money would be spent.

Some council members felt the city shouldn’t be the champion for the ballot measure and that the tax question needed to come from a community group.

Davis said the Rx Task Force has been working to address the questions the council had in the fall.

“I think the City Council was concerned the Yampa Valley Rx Task Force didn’t have more structure to it,” Davis said. “Since their decision, we have put more structure around the Rx Task Force. We’re not exactly where we need to be, but in the next two to three months, I think we will be.”

The group recently met to come up with a strategic plan and to formulate a budget that would help to guide spending decisions.

The task force has also gained 501c3 nonprofit status under the umbrella of the Northwest Colorado Community Health Partnership.

“The next big step is to try and figure out how to put a budget together for where we need funding,” Rx Task Force founder Mara Rhodes said. “There are so many places where the money could go.”

Local police were alarmed last month after there were two drug overdose deaths in a one-week period in Routt County.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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