LHI Blog

A Comprehensive Game Plan for Addictions

Since 2004, more than 6,600 members of our community have died, and behind those deaths are thousands of hospital stays, emergency department visits, and unquantifiable human suffering. 

---From the "Overview" of the Governor's Opioid Working Group Report. June 11, 2015

After months of hearings, discussions, gathering of critical data leading to prioritized strategies and recommendations, the Working Group charged to find solutions to the devastating disease of opioid addictions in Massachusetts has issued their report. The report is impressive in its clarity and comprehensive presentation of the issues. It does not break new ground, most of the content has been well covered in the press over the past few years. What it manages to do is present the definitive picture of our opioid crisis with an eye towards short and long term priorities. It even provides a re-aligned structure for treatment, one that makes far more sense than the current system grown out necessity rather than logic or research. It is a report for the Powerpoint generation with first-rate graphics presented in a logical, understandable fashion.

It's also notable for what it doesn't say. The system recommendations, both long and short-term, will take hundreds of millions to implement. Yes, we need more prevention in the public schools, yes we need better training and medication monitoring of the medical community, and of course we need more beds for Section 35 clients. Few would argue with the need for increased access points into the recovery system and the expansion of the case management system. Treatment professionals, clients and their families are more than familiar with these issues. The big question remains - how will this new system, a coordinated, well-resourced system that will save lives and "unquantifiable human suffering", be funded. We can't afford to keep plugging holes in the system without taking the comprehensive approach recommended by the Working Group. The Governor and Legislature will need make this report truly actionable with comprehensive funding and courageous leadership that supports change. Without it, this report will simply serve as an epitaph for future generations caught in a cycle of ruined lives and tragic deaths.

3 comments (Add your own)

1. wrote:
I do not know where to begin in order to say ThankYou. I am proud to be from Massachusetts. A State that is willing to recognize the needs of families and communities trying to battle Opiates. The immediate hands on action from the Baker administration is something which should be commended. Above all, for realizing and acknowledging the grief of so many in the Commonwealth. We are clearly in a crisis and must not be silent. This epidemic belongs on the laps of the best hospitals in the world, right here in Boston at MGH. The frank and complicated discussions combined with a strong continued fight to battle Heroin / Opiates must not waiver. Federal Funding is long overdue. MGH can't help fiqure out how to safely get people of Methodone without the funds to do so. This problem is bigger than all of us. The past and present leaderships at the State house, every community in Massachusetts, all of our Police departments and every Emergency responders, our Hospitals throughout this State, Funeral directors in each city and town
, Local City / Town and School Officials and the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of Massachusetts Families that have buried their loved one in the past recent years Here. I am grateful for all the good works from each and every effort made to move forward for answers. Prevention And educational awareness of the use and abuse from Opiates, Treatment for those suffering from chemical dependency and a safe method to remove people from using Methodone as means to not shoot heroin. None of these are cheap subjects. We need a serious amount of cash to be sent to Massachusetts from Washington. We were declared a State of Emergency March 2012. Must we have not received any monies for that matter. With all due respect for those that have used their voices over the past few years , I say Let's Fight. Those examples such as the Massachusetts Nurses Association ( marching on State House steps ) , the Gloucester Ma. police Chief ( that traveled to Washington D.C, to meet with his Congressman ) and the Essex County Sheriff Department ( working to create a place of safe recovery ) Vinny and Mike Woburn district court Probation officers ( two of the first professionals to speak out and help seeking funding from State Rep. Jim Micelli ) . Those indeed are examples of positive efforts by people concerned for their Community and State. The recent movie. If Only filmed in Tewksbury was done in memory of those that lost their battle with Addiction. For that their fight too is not forgotten, we must carry on with strength. From Donna Marie

Mon, August 24, 2015 @ 7:07 AM

2. Donna Marie Robitaille wrote:
Sending email address as contact info From Donna Marie Robitaille missdonnamarie3@gmail.com

Mon, August 24, 2015 @ 7:20 AM

3. Donna Marie Robitaille wrote:
Sending email address as contact info From Donna Marie Robitaille missdonnamarie3@gmail.com

Mon, August 24, 2015 @ 7:21 AM

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