For Immediate Release - February 25, 2015

AG Healey Joins Roundtable on Opiate Addiction Health Crisis with Taunton Mayor and First Responders

TAUNTON — Today Attorney General Maura Healey met with Taunton Mayor Tom Hoye, local first responders and family members who are grappling with a loved one’s addiction at a roundtable discussion about the opiate crisis. Taunton has been one of the hardest hit communities in Massachusetts.

“Across Massachusetts, I continue to hear countless stories of loved ones lost to addiction,” AG Healey said. “This epidemic does not discriminate; it impacts people from all walks of life. This is a public health crisis and we must come together to do whatever it takes to stop it from taking more lives.”

“I am thrilled that Attorney General Healey has hit the ground running and is confronting the opiate crisis head on,” said Mayor Tom Hoye. “I am optimistic that this approach will assist our region. We are happy to share our best practices and what has worked in Taunton as it will take the collective efforts of many to have a positive impact on this health care crisis.”

“I’m pleased to see Attorney General Healey follow through on her commitment to do everything she can to address opiate addiction by hearing directly from first responders and the families of victims,” said Senator and President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton). “I look forward to working with her on the issues that affect every corner of this Commonwealth, including the opiate crisis we face today.”

“I appreciate the Attorney General making this a focus, and believe that with the partnership of all government and community leaders, we can make progress on this issue,” said State Representative Keiko Orrall.

“With opioid overdoses claiming twice as many lives as car accidents, we need to address the problem,” said State Representative Shaunna O'Connell. “As a mother, I want to protect our children. I look forward to working with Health and Human Services Secretary MaryLou Sudders, Governor Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey. We are all united on finding a solution to this growing problem. Today’s meeting will be helpful in hearing from first responders and victims’ families. We need more education on the issue and we need doctors to sign up for the mandatory Prescription Monitoring program passed into law last year.”

In her inaugural address in January, AG Healey highlighted the need to address the addiction crisis and outlined a set of commitments to address the epidemic, including:

  • A collaboration with the governor on public education and outreach programs to expand access to recovery and treatment programs;
  • Expanding the reach of the state’s prescription monitoring program to better prevent abuse;
  • Aggressively prosecuting drug traffickers and pill mills to get heroin and prescription drugs off our streets and to keep them away from young people; and
  • Increasing access to the anti-overdose medication Naloxone  (also known as Narcan) for the Commonwealth’s first responders.

Earlier this month, AG Healey sent a letter to drug manufacturer Amphastar to discuss its recent price increases of the medication Naloxone that is used by first responders to reverse overdoses and save lives.

Joining AG Healey for the roundtable were family members from Learn to Cope as well as the organization’s executive director Joanne Peterson. Founded 10 years ago, Learn to Cope is a statewide peer-led support network for parents and relatives who are grappling with a loved one’s addiction. The organization provides families with the help they need to navigate the road to recovery. The group has become a national model for addiction treatment and prevention programing with 12 chapters across the state.