State Officials Highlight Collaboration at Opioid Roundtable

HYANNIS – Governor Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey addressed the state’s efforts to address the opioid crisis in recent years at a roundtable discussion.

The meeting reflected on the Baker Administration’s work to combat the crisis over the last eight years, including increased state funding and the passing of two laws that limited opioid prescriptions and improved access to treatment. 

Although Baker commended professionals in the field for their efforts, he said recovery work was particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The isolation that came with the pandemic was an incredible blow to the progress and the momentum that we had developed here in Massachusetts,” Baker said. 

Although the pandemic led to increasing opioid-related overdose deaths, Baker said the state’s  overdose death numbers are trending lower than in many other parts of the country. 

State officials note that a recent report from the Department of Public Health suggests overdose deaths are decreasing again based on early data from 2022. 

Attorney General and Governor-elect Maura Healey outlined several collaborations that were part of the state’s work to confront the epidemic. 

She thanked her team for its work on a series of investigations and cases that have led to millions of dollars in settlements.  

“I think we’ve now recovered more than $750 million from opioid manufacturers and distributors that really fueled this crisis,” Healey said. 

The AG said she decided she wanted the money recovered from opioid lawsuits to be shared between the state and its towns. 

“Each municipality or region has wonderful programming going on and is right there with its ear to the ground on how best to make use of some of those funds. So I’m proud of that partnership,” she said.

Her comments came after the recent announcement the state will receive $130 million as part of an illegal opioid marketing settlement

Healey said she was also proud of the legislature for setting up a Narcan fund to make the life-saving treatment available to first responders. 

She also noted a partnership with the Department of Justice that gave funds to create the New England Fentanyl Strike Force, which works to prevent fentanyl trafficking.

By Brian Engles, NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.
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