San Antonio hasn’t yet seen the tsunami of prescription opioid abuse and overdose deaths that other cities and states have witnessed in recent years, but local officials have decided the time to act is now, to deal with the current problem and prevent it from getting worse.

The city and Bexar County have teamed up to form a special task force that will address ways to prevent opioid addiction, through education and outreach efforts, as well as ways to boost knowledge of and access to treatment programs for those who’ve already become hooked on the potent drugs.

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More than 20 representatives from the fields of health care, law enforcement, the judicial system and the treatment community came together to plan the task force’s work, which will take place over a year.

“This is first and foremost a public health issue, which then spins off into criminality,” Judge Nelson Wolff said Tuesday. “We need to try and get ahead of the curve. The opioid epidemic hasn’t worked its way down here yet, but if it can happen there, it can happen here, too. We’re not immune.”

MStoeltje@express-news.net