“Opioid abuse is a public health epidemic. The solution to eradicating opioids is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and will require all of us to rethink the way we treat addiction.” claimed Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker who just pushed a $27 million strategic plan to strengthen the state’s capacity to support drug addicts that fell from heroin use.
In 2014, the state of Massachusetts counted almost 1,000 deaths because of the illegal drug. The death toll tripled in just 4 years from 2010 to 2013 according to a study conducted by scientists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Results also showed that users actually utilize prescription opioid first before turning to heroin.
Opioid is one of the world’s oldest drugs. It is known, like morphine, to relieve pain and put a person into a state of euphoria. Heroin overdose can lead to severe conditions like delirium, muscle spasticity, comatose and even death.
In the $27 million dollar plan, Governor Baker wants to have more resources geared toward rehabilitation like new treatment beds, increased grants for doctors and other health professionals, new specialty physicians for addiction and drug use and updates on the state’s policy for opiate drug prescriptions.
The state will also work with pharmacies for drug “take-back” projects as well as in pin-pointing user “hot spots” so that the state know where help is needed.
“I speak as a member of law enforcement when I say we are not going to arrest or incarcerate our way out of this. This is a disease.” said Attorney General Maura Healey who also recommends easier access to mental health support and care for addicts.
The program also rectifies its attitude towards addicts, creating policies that defend addicts to be arrested if they come forward to any police station for help.