White House connection at opioid task force conference

Focused on what's being done to combat drug addiction and what still needs to be done

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region held a conference Monday at Greenfield Community College.

They focused on what’s being done to combat drug addiction and what still needs to be done to fight the state’s opioid epidemic. Greenfield’s Recover Project wants to change the way people see addiction. “The stigma needs to be lifted and as that becomes lifted, people are more willing to be more free about the addiction that they find themselves in and not to hide from it,” said Don Wright from Recover Project.

Mary Lou Leary from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy was also there and she said you’d never tell people with diabetes to just “get over it” and that we have to understand that drug addiction is also a disease.
Leary also spoke about the importance of communities embracing the use of narcan, an overdose reversing drug that can save someone who is overdosing.

John Merrigan, from the Franklin County Probate Court, told 22News, drug addiction impacts entire families. “We’ve had an explosion with the guardianships where the grandparents are taking custody of their grandchildren because of the opioid addiction issue within their family,” said Merrigan.

Congressman Jim McGovern said this epidemic is a community issue and it must be treated as so because it affects us all. Overdose related deaths have been increasing over the years.

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