WILLMAR — Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, has been named to Minnesota's newly formed Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council.

The 2019 opioids bill by the state Legislature established the advisory council to develop and implement a comprehensive and effective statewide effort to address opioid addiction and overdose in Minnesota.

“The opioid epidemic has touched the lives of thousands of Minnesotans and has put a tremendous burden on our counties and law enforcement agencies, ” Baker said in a statement Friday. "I am looking forward to my new role on the council and am ready to get to work developing and investing in policies to combat the opioid crisis and save lives.”

The Opioid Advisory Council will make recommendations about projects and initiatives to combat the opioid crisis and is funded through the Opiate Epidemic Response Fund. The fund is expected to raise $20 million annually through fees collected from opioid prescribers, drug manufacturers and distributors.

The council is made up of legislative and tribal leaders; health care professionals; experts in addiction treatment, mental illness and public health; a state district court judge; individuals in long-term recovery from opioid addiction; and those who experience chronic pain.

The first meeting of the Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council is scheduled Friday.