LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – The state’s Attorney General Maura Healey was in western Massachusetts on Sunday.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey was at the Twin Hills Country Club in Longmeadow Sunday to accept an award from the Longmeadow Democratic Town Committee as the Democrat of the Year and was acknowledged for her achievements.
Among those achievements recognized are her efforts against the opioid epidemic. “It’s devastating, and it’s ruining lives and ruining our communities, but it’s why it’s the top priority and will continue to be,” said Attorney General Maura Healey.
Healey has spoken with members of Congress in Washington, D.C. about how opiates have taken lives across the Commonwealth and region.
In March, state lawmakers passed a bill to combat the opioid epidemic by limiting first time opiate prescriptions to a seven day supply and only allowing patients to fill out part of their prescriptions at a time, and while it has made a dent there’s still a lot of progress to make.
Healey said they are going after the illegal drug traffickers. “Fentanyl and heroin, the way that drug cartels have figured out how to manufacture fentanyl is really sickening and fentanyl is 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin if you can believe it so we need to do more education more outreach to young people but to people generally,” said Healey.
Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni says it’s about bringing police and hospitals in western Mass together to work in collaboration.
“The task force that I’m developing is really around data collection and messaging and the ability to respond to these kind of crises that we are seeing in the eastern part of the state at present day,” said Gulluni.
Efforts have also been focused on teaching people to get rid of prescription pain killers that they aren’t using and could become addicted to, with drug take backs.
“We also have to give people hope. Recovery is possible we need to give people that hope and recognition that they can get through this,” said Healey.
Healey said that addiction is a disease and it’s important to continue to fight to get people access to care and treatment.