Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

The heroin and opioid epidemic is an issue that is very personal to all of us. I think everyone in our communities knows someone who is struggling or has struggled with this disease. Too many of us know someone who won’t comeback from it.

My step-father, Tim Lineaweaver, has spent his entire career working in substance abuse and suicide prevention on the Cape and Islands. He started the first sober house on Nantucket and has worked for decades in Falmouth as a therapist. 

In the Attorney General’s Office I started a campaign called Mass Recovery and I teamed up with Mass Organization for Addiction Recovery, and recovery programs from across the state to launch a campaign that was aimed at ending the stigma of addiction and encouraging those in recovery to keep fighting.  These people are not junkies.  These people are not criminals.  These people are our children.  Our neighbors.  Our friends.  Our family members.  They are people who need our help.

And it’s not just heroin. A few months ago, I sat down with a mother whose son died from an overdose of fentanyl. This is a powerful drug 50 times more potent than heroin and it’s killing people in our communities. In the AG’s office we took this on and passed a law to make the trafficking of fentanyl a crime. We also worked to make Narcan more affordable for first-responders. This is a drug that is saving lives and bringing people back from the brink.

The opioid bill that most recently passed the State House is landmark, nation leading legislation. I supported this legislation and advocated for it. It is legislation that will help change our culture around heroin and prescription drugs forever.  Over the next few years, we must work to ensure it is properly funded and strengthened – something I will always advocate for.

As State Representative, I will also advocate for longer-term treatment to help break the cycles of relapse that many seeking treatment endure.