MASHPEE –The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe held their first opioid crisis forum on Tuesday night at the Community and Government Center.
The forum was held in the wake of two overdose deaths to tribal members recently and officials plan to launch a number of new initiatives to counter the opioid crisis.
Those plans include establishing the tribe’s own transitional half-way houses, adding a human services case manager and creating a dedicated hot line for members who need assistance with addiction.
“We got to fight it, we can’t support it, we’ve got to talk to the medication companies,” said Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell. “The medications that are coming out right now for pain, we want to educate people about it.”
Falmouth State Representative David Vieira and Barnstable County Sheriff Jim Cummings attended the event which was open to all tribal citizens.
Seventeen citizens of the 2,500 member tribe have died of suspected overdoses in the last 18 months.
“We sometimes assume that tribal members know what the process is and even the basic information is big for them and so we’re hoping to accomplish that with a lot of information about services we already provide and also the process in how to attain those services,” said Councilwoman Cheryl Frye-Cromwell.
By JUSTIN SAUNDERS, CapeCod.com Newscenter