BOSTON (WWLP) – State lawmakers voted to restore funding to help western Massachusetts residents combat the deadly opioid epidemic.
Governor Charlie Baker vetoed all funding for regional opioid task forces in an effort to balance the budget, as the state deals with a tax revenue shortage. The task force is a unique program that brings together law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, elected officials, and members of the health care community to tackle the heroin and prescription drug crisis on many fronts.
Last year, more than 1,500 Massachusetts residents died of an accidental drug overdose, according to state data. Funding is critical to prevent future deaths by adding new treatment beds and expanding the availability of Naloxone.
State lawmakers restored $300,000 to the Franklin County Regional Opioid Task Force. Senate President Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst) told 22News that the program has become a national model.
The Legislature also restored $112,000 to help police better investigate drug crimes.