Cities and towns across Massachusetts are grappling with the devastating impact of an opiate addiction epidemic. In recognition of this crisis, Governor Patrick has declared opiate abuse as a public health emergency and has unveiled a comprehensive strategy to address the issue on a wide variety of fronts.
One critical charge in the Governor’s declaration is the formation of a task force dedicated to developing recommendations on how to utilize $20 million in emergency funding meant to: better coordinate services; better gather and utilize data, ensure access to services regardless of insurance status, get non-violent criminals into treatment and assist people getting out of jail to stay clean.
This new task force is comprised of an impressive array of professionals from the worlds of public safety, substance abuse, health care and public health. Working together, we are looking in depth at all the issues that need to be considered in developing a responsible and effective plan to address this public health emergency. When it comes to reducing the impact of opioid abuse, there is truly no time to waste – the task force will make recommendations to the Governor by the end of May.
On behalf of the Department, I want to express my gratitude to all of the members of the task force for their time, energy, and ideas in this vitally important effort.
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