I-Team asks state what they’re doing to combat heroin

22News I-Team Investigation

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – “A week of detox isn’t enough,” West Springfield’s Rodrigo Gordon said. Gordon is four months clean but has struggled with heroin-use for years.

As he works on his recovery day by day, he, like so many others who’ve overdosed, are looking to the state for more resources. “I’ve had friends who passed away trying to get into treatment, you know who were on a waiting list. Some people I talked to, took three months, to get into a treatment facility,” he said.

In June, the state’s Opioid Task Force released its report of recommendations on how to combat the state’s drug crisis. It’s now up to the Department of Public Health to enact the changes, so the 22News I-Team went to Boston to find out what they’re doing and when we’ll start seeing changes.

“One of the biggest things we hear is treatment beds, we need treatment beds, so those procurements were prioritized,” said Hilary Jacobs, a Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Public Health.

Jacobs says right now, they’re actively working on new prevention campaigns, they’ve expanded access to support groups and are working on expanding access to Narcan, which stops an overdose in progress.

She says by next April there will be 128 more detox and recovery beds across the state. “All the services are regional,  we make sure that anything that exists in one region of the state, exists in all regions of the state,” she added.

She says they made some changes immediately that didn’t require money. Those that require funding take longer but they are working their way through the recommendations.

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