Drug Abuse in Massachusetts
On a more serious note, what is the Federal government going to do about the rampant heroin epidemic that is ravaging the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the Northeast as a whole? CBS news reported on April 1st (http://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/04/01/217-suspected-massachusetts-heroin-overdose-deaths-this-year/) that in the first 3 months of 2015 the Commonwealth had 217 confirmed overdose deaths, and that is excluding the state’s three largest cities of Boston, Worcester, and Springfield. Surely the gruesome toll is nearly 400 or more. Is this number acceptable?
The simple answer to that question is an obvious no, the Congressman is quite concerned with the drug epidemic sweeping through the communities of his district and his state. Congressman Lynch advocates a multi-faceted approach to tackle the root of the problem. First and foremost he feels that education is the key and that we need to educate everybody about the dangers of these drugs. Students, parents, teachers, medical professionals, educate anyone and everyone because we never know when, where , or with who we might have to battle addiction. Hopefully if the population more fully understands opiate addiction then fewer at risk individuals, especially children will develop an opiate addiction.
The second prong of the Congressman’s approach is to develop treatment programs to act as a “safety net” for those who fall through the cracks and develop an addiction. Whether through the utilization of medications such as suboxone and methadone, pyschological therapy, or residential treatment programs, there needs to be something to support the people who were missed in the first wave of education.
The third phase of Congressman Lynch’s solution is diversion. An example of this is the in effect is several Massachusett's drug courts. These courts place drug offenders into programs such as the Total Immersion Project, run by the Gavin Foundation. These programs are places where individuals learn life skills instead of going to prison, where they would inadvertently be transformed from a sick person, a drug addict, to a hardened criminal with a full repertoire of criminal skills.
Lastly there is taking up the fight with the producers of these drugs. Congressman Lynch has fought with the pharmaceuticals industry for the better part of the past decade trying to ban the drugs that are claiming all these lives such as oxycontin. However the pharma industries large and well funded lobby is ever-present on Capitol Hill and has proven to be a powerful adversary. Sadly as the profits of these companies continue to soar, the death toll rises.