Friday, August 11, 2023
Saturday, June 24, 2023
CommonWealth Magazine: "2022 numbers paint bleak picture, with renewed calls for supervised injection sites"
"THE STATE WAS already swimming upstream against the opioid epidemic, but new numbers showing record high opioid-related overdose deaths brought an undercurrent of despair to Healey administration discussion of how to stem the toll.There were 2,357 confirmed and estimated fatal opioid-related overdoses in Massachusetts last year, or 33.5 deaths per 100,000 residents, according to the Department of Public Health. The figure marks a 2.5 percent increase from 2021 and a 9 percent jump from 2016’s pre-pandemic peak, which itself capped a startling rise in deaths over the prior five years. Populations of color and rural areas have seen the largest jumps in opioid overdose deaths.....Public health officials warn that drug dealers mixing synthetic opioids like fentanyl and other substances into their offerings have created an extremely dangerous cocktail.“We have a toxic drug supply,” said Deirdre Calvert, director of the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services. “And it doesn’t matter if you’re using opiates or not. You’re at risk if you’re using drugs that are bought illicitly.”
|CommonWealth Magazine: "2022 numbers paint bleak picture, with renewed calls for supervised injection sites"|
Saturday, August 27, 2022
Thursday, June 9, 2022
"THE NUMBER OF OPIOID overdose deaths in Massachusetts rose by 9 percent in 2021, a worrying number in a state that had started seeing some success in addressing the opioid epidemic when COVID-19 hit and reversed that progress.“These are sobering and devastating statistics,” said Deirdre Calvert, director of the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. "
"More people died of opioid-related overdoses in Massachusetts last year than in any previous year, according to a grim new report out Wednesday that reflects both the mental health toll of the pandemic and the pervasiveness of fentanyl-contaminated drugs.The Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s twice-yearly opioid report showed that opioid-related deaths surged by 9 percent in 2021, to an all-time high of 2,290 lives lost. That is lower than the 15 percent increase seen nationally. But Massachusetts continues to have a high rate of overdose deaths compared to other states, the 17th highest in 2020, the most recent year for which state-by-state comparisons are available."
"However, according to the State data, Franklin's situation was trending in a better direction. Some 7 people lost their lives in 2018 , 5 in 2019, 3 in 2020, and 3 in 2021."Today's report underscores the harmful impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and the scourge of fentanyl have had on those struggling with addiction, and we are committed to continuing our work with the Legislature and our colleagues in the addiction and recovery community to boost access to services and treatment," Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement."
|2104 purple flags on the Town Common to acknowledge the opioid deaths in 2020|
Sunday, September 19, 2021
"AS THE COVID-19 pandemic continues to fill headlines, the opioid epidemic grinds on with few signs of improvement. In this research brief we analyze recent data on opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts, including data from the COVID time period, to help us keep sight of a crisis that continues wreaking havoc on lives to this day.
At the peak of the opioid epidemic in 2016, Massachusetts reached 29.7 deaths per 100,000 residents, more than two times the national rate (for further detail on the causes of this increase, please see our 2018 report Opioid Addiction Is a National Crisis. And It’s Twice as Bad in Massachusetts). While this rate has stopped climbing quite so dramatically, as of 2016 it has held steady at historically high rates, remaining in the high 20s per 100,000 and spiking back up to 30 per 100,000 during the peak of the COVID pandemic in 2020.
Fortunately, there are signs that opioid-related overdose deaths may yet decrease in 2021. During a Public Health Council meeting in August, MassDPH presented preliminary data showing that the first six months of 2021 saw an estimated 5 percent decrease in total deaths from the same period in 2020, which would roughly bring Massachusetts back to 2019 levels. "
|"Opioid epidemic grinds on in Mass. at elevated rates"|
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
"A powerful Senate committee on Tuesday endorsed legislation giving those addicted to opioids new access to medically assisted treatment in prisons and creating harm-reduction sites for people to use drugs while advancing several other ideas to curb the deadly scourge.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee version of the bill in many ways follows the broad contours of legislation (H 4742) that the House passed unanimously last week. The bill would shift pharmacies over to electronic prescriptions, establish a standing order to make overdose-reversing medication available to well-meaning members of the public, and allow patients to fill part of a prescription and then go back to get the rest.
A Ways and Means poll on the bill closed early afternoon on Tuesday, and the bill was reported favorably, according to an aide."Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
The bill likely would move to conference committee to resolve the differences with the House on a similar measure.
Friday, October 16, 2015
Four residents overdosed on heroin last week, two of whom died as a result, police said. They fell victim to the opiate epidemic pervading the state and, in recent years, taking lives at skyrocketing rates.
“It's a very sad and tragic set of circumstances,” said Police Chief Stephan Semerjian. “When you have individuals that suffer years of this battle, it almost becomes a numbers game – how long can you tolerate and live that way before tragedy sets in.”
Medical confidentiality laws prevent officials from releasing any specific information on the victims or circumstances of the overdose, he said.Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
“The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program helps federal, state, and local authorities to coordinate drug enforcement operations, support prevention efforts and improve public health and safety,” said Botticelli, who served as director of Massachusetts substance abuse services from 2003 to 2012 where he oversaw a pilot program for Quincy police to begin carrying naloxone to treat opioid overdoses.
The New England HIDTA also will receive $265,000 to advance a range of drug use prevention initiatives and to support HIDTA operations.
“This federal funding comes at a critical time in Massachusetts and New England’s effort to tame this scourge of heroin and prescription drug abuse," said Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass. "Heroin overdoses are taking lives at an unprecedented rate. Stemming this tide will require a comprehensive strategy that teams public health, science, medicine, and law enforcement on the federal, state and local levels to stop addiction before it takes hold and secure treatment when and where its needed most."Continue reading the article in the Milford Daily News (subscription maybe required) http://www.milforddailynews.com/article/20150817/NEWS/150817153/1994/NEWS
Thursday, August 13, 2015
A Harvard professor and Massachusetts General Hospital addiction expert spoke Wednesday night about the mechanisms of, and strategies for, combating and de-stigmatizing substance abuse disorders.
John Kelly, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the hospital's Addiction Recovery Management Service, spoke to the second meeting of the Support for Addicts and Families by Empowerment, or SAFE, at Franklin High School.
Kelly said addiction was caused by several factors, including genetic predisposition and exposure to the drug itself.
"Some ask why people get addicted - the real question is: why we aren't all addicted," he said. "This relates to the genetic component."Continue reading the article in the MIlford Daily News here (subscription may be required)
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Why do teenagers get involved to help with the opioid epidemic? One can easily understand how the parents get involved. Concern for their children and the children of close friends are good reasons. But teens? What brings them to the issue?
In the case of Ben Waters, he felt he really needed to help. He is working on his Eagle Scout badge and needed a project. This would fit the requirements. But that is too easy an answer. The more he found out about the epidemic, the more he realized he had to help.
“Who is this epidemic killing? Kids in their mid-twenties. That would be me in 10 years.” Ben and I met recently at Panera Bread to discuss the epidemic and the efforts of the coalition.
|Coalition meeting Aug 12, 7:00 PM|
He reached out to Dr Kelly to arrange for him to speak in Franklin. This is what is scheduled for Wednesday night in the Franklin High School Auditorium at 7:00 PM.
He has spent time going door to door, handing out flyers to spread the word. Dr Kelly has information that both parents and kids need to hear. When we got together for this talk, his enthusiasm seemed boundless. All that energy and drive is going to do some good, especially for those in and around the opioid epidemic.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
The Board of Health, which currently has a member belonging to SAFE Community Coalition, hopes to solicit community members to join the coalition, which seeks to solve the statewide heroin epidemic.
At Monday’s meeting, Board of Health member Jordan Warnick said Rep. Jeff Roy, D-Franklin, asked him to be on the Support for Addicts and Families by Empowerment (SAFE) Community Coalition to “help bring Medway into it.”
“We’re trying to forge a relationship with Franklin,” Warnick said. “Alone, we can’t do it.”Continue reading about Eco Embrace here (subscription may be required)
Local officials are encouraging town residents to participate in the Franklin Solar Challenge before the program's Sept. 15 deadline.
Town Councilor Brett Feldman, who coordinates the challenge, said it was based on the state Clean Energy Center's Solarize Massachusetts program, which offers increasing discounts on solar panels as more and more townspeople use them.
"It's based off that, but we did our own to maintain flexibility," he said, noting that such flexibility allowed the town to run its program over a longer time frame. "It started a year ago, and it will end in September."
|Franklin Solar Challenge|
Continue reading about Eco Embrace here (subscription may be required)
Monday, August 10, 2015
- Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m
- Wednesday morning at 8:30 am
- Saturday evening at 8:30 pm
09:00 AM It Takes A Village: D. Getchell
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Dean College Children’s Center, 144 School St., will host an open house from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 4.
Parents of children 2-6 years old are invited to bring their child to explore and learn about the school.
Applications will be accepted for five-day morning, two-day morning and three-day morning preschool programs, and the four-day Pre-K program. Preschool begins on Sept. 14.Continue reading the article in the Milford Daily News (subscription maybe required)
State Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said restoring the cuts was driven by a desire to help the state's municipalities.
"In working closely with local officials, I hear, almost on a daily basis, about town needs," she said.
One key override, Spilka said, would provide $50,000 for the town's new substance abuse coalition.
"Substance abuse, particularly opioid abuse, is rampant in the state," she said. "I thought it was important."Continue reading the article in the Milford Daily News (subscription maybe required)
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Sponsored by S.A.F.E. (Support for Addicts and Families by Empowerment), the Community Coalition recently formed in Franklin, this event will feature a talk by Dr. John Kelly, the director of the Addiction Recovery Management Service at Mass General Hospital.
It will be followed by a panel discussion and questions from the audience.
|Addressing an Epidemic: Addiction, Stigma, and Recovery - August 12|
You can follow the event on Facebook here
"When my oldest was about a week old I remember looking down into his beautiful eyes and being struck by an overwhelming sense of fear. Icy terror washed over me as I realized the full weight of my responsibility for this tiny human. How was I going to do this right? What was I going to do wrong? I knew I’d do something wrong, would it scar him for life? I was the one who would have to teach him to navigate a world I was not sure I fully understood myself.
We are parents. We have all had this moment, and the fear stays with us……forever. These tiny beings may grow taller than us, they may move across the country and have tiny beings of their own someday – but they will always remain our innocent, irreplaceable miracles, and we will always be their parents."
Continue reading Patricia's article here
Friday, July 31, 2015
The Support for Addicts and Families by Empowerment or S.A.F.E coalition will meet at 7 p.m., Aug. 12 at Franklin High School. More than 100 people attended the group’s first meeting, which saw doctors, law enforcement officials and treatment counselors discuss the state’s opioid epidemic.
The coalition will serve as a local resource for residents searching for information or help - for themselves, family members and friends - as it follows the lead of the 20 other town groups working closely with the Norfolk County District Attorney’s office.
The second meeting will feature Dr. John Kelly, the director of the Addiction Recovery Management Service at Mass General Hospital in Boston. Kelly, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is expected to cover the genetics of addiction and the need to frame the dialogue on the opioid epidemic as a public health crisis rather than a drug problem.
Continue reading the article here
A 3-year-old Franklin boy was taken to a hospital via medical helicopter after a vehicle struck the ride-a-long trailer attached to his father’s bicycle Thursday morning.
According to police, several frantic callers reported the accident at 6:53 a.m., which occurred at the intersection of Sanford and Village streets.
The child was taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester and was in stable condition Thursday afternoon.
The boy was riding in a trailer attached to the bike of his 33-year-old father’s bicycle, which was traveling north on Sanford Street in the center of the roadway when it was “waiting to make a left hand turn onto Village Street," police said in a press release.
Continue reading the article here
Monday, July 27, 2015