Continuing the Fight Against Substance Abuse

As many of you know, our region as well as the entire Commonwealth is facing an ongoing substance abuse and opioid crisis. To combat this multifaceted issue, the Legislature is doing what they can now to help. That is why I was proud to join my colleagues in passing a comprehensive substance abuse prevention and education bill that will aid our local communities, schools and healthcare facilities in various aspects of this public health epidemic.
 
This past week, I was given the opportunity to directly join the fight against substance abuse by being invited to be a member of the Central Massachusetts Opiate Task Force, led by Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early. The Task Force was established by D.A. Early in March 2015 as a way to bring together local law enforcement, government leaders, healthcare professionals, and experts in the field of substance abuse. The Task Force’s mission is to increase our capacity in fighting the ongoing substance abuse crisis in Massachusetts.
 
I am honored to be appointed to the Task Force and join the effort in our area of the Commonwealth to address this growing crisis. This epidemic, which claims the lives of approximately four people a day from overdose, is felt among individuals and families in every community. With such staggering and increasing statistics, this issue requires a strategic and unified force to find a resolution. One step towards resolution is by starting a local dialogue and sharing information and resources with our communities.
 
Last week, I attended the Task Force’s second “Community Awareness Forum for Opioid Use and Abuse” along with D.A. Early and the Northborough/Southborough legislative delegation at Algonquin Regional High School. The Task Force has been working with Central Massachusetts communities to build awareness on substance abuse through local events such as this one. The event was a great opportunity for concerned families and residents to learn about the issues and what actions are being taken to address them. Following the success and positive impact of this forum, I will be working with D.A. Early and my fellow Task Force members to bring another such event to the 12th Worcester District for some time this year.
 
If you have any questions about the substance abuse legislation or the upcoming forum in our district, please contact my office at (978) 365-1955.