Multi-state approach to reducing opioid abuse problems

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health last week recommended Governor Patrick plan a regional approach to reduce opiate addiction. On Tuesday he met with four other governors.

Most people aren’t surprised when a routine traffic stop turns into a drug bust on Interstate 91. State Police have seized thousands of bags of heroin from cars and trucks on I-91 since March.

Gov. Patrick said just in the last several months 140 people here in Massachusetts died from heroin overdose. He called it a public health emergency that must be addressed as soon as possible.

Heroin is an illegal form of opioid, but Governor Patrick said he’s also concerned about prescription opioids, such as oxycodone and morphine, causing abuse, addiction and overdose. He wants to find ways to stop inter-state sales of opioids.

Robbin Lussier of South Hadley said, “The problem isn’t always in one area. The crime is cooperating across state lines. It’ll be best if law enforcement is cooperating across state lines as well.”

“Any work they can do, especially with other states, they may not have the same resources so pool resources, that will help with the problem,” said Kurt Wilkins of Whately.

Governor Patrick also plans to expand community-based treatment programs and to enhance painkiller prescription regulations.

Click Here to read the Department of Public Health’s recommended actions.

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