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Sen. Markey, Congressman Neal and Holyoke Mayor Morse Discuss Growing Drug Problem in Western Mass.

heroin conferenceHOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) – Massachusetts officials are cracking down on the growing heroin and prescription drug abuse in Western Mass.

“This is a crisis that can be met head on and it can be met head on at a community level,” said Kathryn Powers, SAMHSA regional director.

Senator Edward Markey joined Congressman Richard Neal, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, and Holyoke Health Center CEO Jay Breines, at the Holyoke Health Center Friday, for a meeting on how to crack down on the drug abuse. They talked about the recent rising number of drug deaths in Western Mass, along with the number of heroin related arrests police officials throughout the Western part of the state have made in the last few days.

Senator Markey says the growing heroin problem can not be solved by just putting people behind bars,”We’re not going to to be able to imprison our way out of this problem,” says Markey.

Markey calls for a three-pronged attack against the heroin epidemic. More prevention programs, more treatment beds, and providing first responders with Narcan, the heroin reversal drug.

The heroin addiction problem is tearing families apart according to Marcy Julian, who works with Learn2Cope, a support group for families involved with heroin addiction,” It’s a much bigger problem than anybody realizes, I think you hard some of the statistics today, at least two people die every day in Massachusetts from an opiate overdose that includes heroin,” says Julian.

“Since November alone we’ve had 30 overdoses in Hampden County. That number is unacceptable,” said Mayor Alex Morse.

Plans on how to combat this growing issue included expanding the use of drug treatment programs in order to prevent overdose deaths and a call for more federal funding to expand detox treatment programs.

Senator Markey also led a discussion regarding the increase in availability and use for the drug Narcan, a lifesaving overdose reversal drug that first responders would carry on them. It helps reverse the effects of a fatal heroin or opiate overdose. Markey has proposed bill that would protect police officers, health counselors and other groups from liability of offering the drug to help combat a potential fatality, as long as they legally acquire the drug and are trained to use it.

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • weasel

    Yea and what are they going to do about it. MJ will soon be legal and a gateway to even more. The more that die the less expenditure my our medical plans. Who cares about these slime.

  • romanceforyou

    Well you going to have Drug problems having laws that give crime control over the drug people use Their a culure of people made up of millions who use drugs Why have laws that give crime control over the drugs people use . Is it the fear and money they make doing it this way? Im not saying you should let people use so much they get addited and some drugs are not good for you , but people take the liberty to use drugs and they dont all get addited to Drugs That happen when it done having crime control the drugs and their given too much. Well the numbers of people using drugs grows So Vote for a safer better way I say Write my name in if you like.Carl Caswell and bring back liberty, freedom of choice and offer safer use. But they make a lot of money keeping laws that give control and gives them power of arest and put the fear and it makes a lot of money doing it this way. I know my self been pay police money for payoffs been going off and on for years if I don’t they put me in prison for crimes that didn’t happen all I can do is tell people about it. They wount let me file a complanit in court about The payoff I force to pay and they keep the money and I wouldn’t even take the money back if they try to give it to me because like I said it been going on for years. If I take some back they can say look we gave it back. I say land of of free give thepeople who party a right to be bring back the freedom of choic and offer a safer better way because your not going to stop drug abuse having laws that give crime control . Their been a war on drug so all fair in war and the police can lie and break your bone and inprison people for crimes that didn’t happen That what I say they did and do to me now for you enjoyment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mJ8zHJootA&feature=youtu.be

  • romanceforyou

    Well you going to have Drug problems having laws that give crime control over the drug people use Their a culture of people made up of millions who use drugs Why have laws that give crime control over the drugs people use . Is it the fear and money they make doing it this way? I’m not saying you should let people use so much they get addited and some drugs are not good for you , but people take the liberty to use drugs and they dont all get addicted to Drugs That happen when it done having crime control the drugs and their given too much. Well the numbers of people using drugs grows So Vote for a safer better way I say Write my name in if you like. Carl Caswell and bring back liberty, freedom of choice and offer safer use. But they make a lot of money keeping laws that give control and gives them power of arrest and put the fear and it makes a lot of money doing it this way. I know my self been pay police money for payoffs been going off and on for years if I don’t they put me in prison for crimes that didn’t happen all I can do is tell people about it. They won’t let me file a complaint in court about The payoff I force to pay and they keep the money and I wouldn’t even take the money back if they try to give it to me because like I said it been going on for years. If I take some back they can say look we gave it back. I say land of free give the people who party a right to be bring back the freedom of choice and offer a safer better way because your not going to stop drug abuse having laws that give crime control . Their been a war on drug so all fair in war and the police can lie and break your bones and imprison people for crimes that didn’t happen That what I say they did and do to me now for you enjoyment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mJ8zHJootA&feature=youtu.be