Monday, February 13, 2017

Understanding the Massachusetts Drug Addiction Problem

This morning there was horrific news from Louisville, Kentucky – a massive spike in drug overdose calls caused authorities there to respond to 52 emergencies within a 32-hour period. The area had nearly 700 overdose cases in January alone, a 33 percent spike from last year according to a report.

Across the nation, and in our own home state, the massive impact of drug-related overdoses has spread at a rate that has been difficult to fathom and even more challenging to effectively combat.

I have sponsored legislative initiatives to provide funding and tools to enhance opportunities for treatment efforts such as the ‘Angel Program’ and pilot programs to study best practices. My colleagues and I have championed a number of ideas including those that support the efforts of emergency responders. Together, we have implemented prescription monitoring, promoting a Good Samaritan law, stronger medical training for understanding pain management and reductions in volumes of opioid prescriptions.

Drug addiction is more than a medical or public safety problem; substance abuse is a societal problem and our best way to control it is through information, communication and community supports that connect families and abusers with those who can help.

I invite you to look at a special report, a data visualization of the Massachusetts opioid crisis, which powerfully conveys the state of our state. This is a tool that I hope empowers you with facts and engages you to stand with me and others who want to help people overcome addictions and quash this epidemic.

Check back here for future updates on new insights, legislation and our efforts to prevent drug abuse and our work to promote access to treatment.