Sen. Markey at town hall: State’s opioid epidemic biggest concern

The next town hall will be in Nantucket on Thursday

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Senator Edward Markey held a town hall meeting in Springfield on Monday night.

22News spoke with the senator about the biggest concerns Massachusetts residents face right now.

The senator spoke about immigration and health care, but here in Massachusetts, he said the opioid epidemic is the biggest concern.

More than 100 people gathered for Senator Edward Markey’s town hall meeting at Forest Park Middle School.

Markey cited the deadly opioid epidemic and the rising rate of overdose deaths in Massachusetts.

Sen. Markey hosts public town hall event in Springfield

“We need to spend far more money, far better strategies on treatment and prevention, and ensuring that every family knows that help is on the way,” Senator Markey said. “Right now that is not the case.”

Senator Markey wrote a letter to President Donald Trump, urging him to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

One town hall attendee said now that powerful opioids fentanyl and carfentanyl have been found in our state, addressing the epidemic is critical.

“We’re going to see the overdose rates rise dramatically,” said Sarah Ahern of Greenfield. “In our community, especially in Western Mass, we are a rural, low income community. We need funding, and we need it now. We need it from the federal level.”

This past March, Senator Markey was among senators from both sides of the aisle who introduced legislation to provide hi-tech chemical screening devices to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to better detect fentanyl and other synthetic opiates.

Senator Markey hosted a town hall in Northampton last February.

He’s holding another town hall in Nantucket on Thursday.