Baker Releases Details, Recommendations From Opioid Panel

drugsalcoholBOSTON (AP) — A task force created by Gov. Charlie Baker says drug addiction must be considered a medical disease and has outlined a series of steps to fight opioid abuse.

The 18-member task force created in February released its recommendations on Monday after holding several public meetings around the state.

Saying Massachusetts was in the midst of an “epidemic,” the report said more than 6,600 people have died from heroin and other opioid-related overdoses inMassachusetts in the past decade.

“It’s not a question of personal morality,” said Gosnold of Cape Cod CEO Ray Tamasi.

The report focuses on prevention, education, intervention, and treatment and recovery. Gosnold of Cape Cod CEO Ray Tamasi is a member of the task force. Cape Cod has seen a dramatic increase in overdose deaths in the past year.

“This is an illness that needs to be treated that way. He (Baker)  went further in stating the reality that this is a chronic condition,” Tamasi said after the findings were released.

Since addiction often begins with the abuse of prescription painkillers, the task force’s many recommendations include strengthening the state’s prescription monitoring program and requiring education in safe prescribing practices.

Tamasi believes the report is a good step forward in stemming the tide. “We’ve now seen the collective energy of treatment providers and other health care professionals, policy makers, and more importantly, the community,” Tamasi said.



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