Meeting in Holyoke to discuss state’s opiate addiction crisis

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – In January, the state senate formed a special committee to study drug addiction and treatment options in Massachusetts. On Monday, that committee is meeting in Holyoke to discuss ways to deal with the crisis of opiate addiction in our state.

The Special Committee on Drug Abuse and Treatment is interested in learning about more efforts to prevent and treat drug addiction in the community, as well as barriers to treatment.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, the Committee will hold a public hearing at the Providence Behavioral Health Hospital on Main Street.

Back in March, Governor Deval Patrick declared a public health emergency as the number of opiate-related deaths continued to climb. At that time, it was reported that more than 140 people died in Massachusetts from drug overdoses within a few months. The Governor’s declaration allowed first responders to carry and administer Narcan, which can reverse an overdose and save someone’s life.

Patrick said he would also be dedicating $20 million to beef up budgets at substance abuse treatment programs.

Law enforcement officials, district attorneys, sheriffs, police and fire officials, health centers, treatment providers, medical professionals, family advocates, educators, and school superintendents have been invited to provide testimony for Monday’s meeting.

The Committee is lead by State Senator Jennifer Flanagan.

To find out what drug treatment programs the Providence Behavioral Health Hospital offers click here.

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