Franklin County still battling drug epidemic

Meeting to discuss substance abuse in Franklin County

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- Governor Patrick this week declared a public health emergency regarding the state’s worsening  drug problem. 22News visited Franklin County, one of the areas hard hit by drug addiction.

Franklin County has been dealing with an increase in addiction since early last year. They’ve seen an increase in petty crimes and then a sudden increase in overdoses.

Residents are concerned that more and more Young adults are overdosing on hard drugs, and crime has increased. Louise Crandall told 22News her reaction to a drug arrest near her house. “Not too happy. Not too happy. A little insecure, but it’s good to know that the police are on it and making a big effort to control it.”

The Opiod Education and Awareness Task Force met Friday to find a way to  stop  the cycle drug addiction. One doctor told 22News addicts are migrating to cheaper drugs. Dr. Ruth Potee said, “The change now is that the pipeline of pills has really slowed down. That is a good thing. But the consequence of that good action is that heroin is cheap and widely available so people who have a substance abuse disorder with opiates is going to jump ship and start using heroin instead.”

The task force says one of the roots of the opioid problem is the misuse of prescription drugs. the committee is encouraging doctors and pharmacists to sign a safe prescriber pledge.

Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan told 22News the purpose of the pledge. “We usually don’t look at the full impact of opioids but to make sure that every prescriber does look at that impact and they only prescribe it when absolutely necessary.”

Governor Patrick is allocating $20 million to increase treatment and recovery services.

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