Mass Gov Continues Fight Against Opioid Abuse

By Shawn Dwyer 06/10/14

Gov. Deval Patrick has stepped up to the plate again to curb the growing opioid crisis in the Northeast.

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In his continuing efforts to be a leader in combating opioid drug abuse, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick revealed a $20 million package designed to combat the crisis of addiction in his state, while calling upon the other governors of the Northeastern U.S. to join him in fighting the problem on a regional scale.

A commission appointed by the governor called for increased drug treatment inside the state’s prison system and creating new live-in centers for adolescents addicted to drugs.

"These actions will help enhance our network for treatment and recovery services to help communities and families struggling with addiction," Patrick said while outlining his plan in front of a Boston high school that provides drug treatment for teens.

Patrick also called upon state regulators to review how doctors prescribed opioid drugs, as well as on how pharmacies filled prescriptions. "[S]afe prescribing and dispensing practices are needed to decrease the risk of misuse and abuse while allowing for the legitimate use of these important medications,” Patrick said.

Patrick has sought to address the opioid crisis plaguing the Northeast by inviting the governors from other states in the region to a summit on how to address the problem. So far, Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chafee, Connecticut’s Dannel Malloy, and New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan have agreed.

While Vermont’s Peter Shumlin has yet to respond, there’s no doubt he will eventually agree since he delivered an entire state of the state address about the heroin epidemic. Tea Party favorite Paul LePage of Maine, however, has been less than responsive in combating his state’s drug crisis.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.