Congressman Neal addressed opioid crisis at public forum

2,000 opioid overdose deaths last year in Massachusetts

SHELBURNE FALLS, Mass. (WWLP) – Congressman Neal hosted a public forum in Shelburne Falls to address drug addiction as a public health issue.

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50.

The opiod crisis is both a national and local problem, affecting millions of Americans. Congressman Richard Neal held this forum to discuss strategies to help stop this epidemic.

“The opioid epidemic has made it very clear that addiction now is an issue that’s part of suburban and rural America and combating on that basis,” said Congressman Richard Neal.

The panel included local police chiefs, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, and the new executive director of the Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center.

“Its so much easier to do prevention than to do treatment or prosecution and its really been the force of our office to really push for good youth programs,” said Northwestern District Attorney, David Sullivan.

Neal told 22News the federal government intends to continue to provide funding to combat the opioid crisis. According to the CDC, more than 60 thousand people died of drug overdoses last year. That’s 19 percent more deaths than 2015.