For Immediate Release - May 29, 2015

AG Healey Joins Middle Schoolers, Speaks About the Dangers of Opiate Abuse at MIAA Leadership Conference

AG Encourages Students to Work Together to Fight Opiate Epidemic

SPRINGFIELD — Underlining her commitment to tackling substance abuse, Attorney General Maura Healey today urged a group of more than 100 middle school students from the greater Springfield area to work together with their peers to combat the opiate epidemic.  The AG spoke to the group at the YOU LEAD peer leadership conference, which is jointly sponsored by the Attorney General’s Office and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA).

“It’s one thing for adults to say something about the dangers of drugs. But if you go back to your schools and talk about it – it will make a difference,” AG Healey said to the students. “You have the chance to help so many kids. I challenge you to go back and make that difference today.”

The “YOU LEAD: Youth Leading Everywhere Abstaining from Drugs” program is a student leadership initiative of the MIAA Educational Athletics Curriculum and is aimed at empowering young people to make healthy life choices. The program’s objective is to change the norm of substance abuse in adolescent culture by supporting young people who choose to live a healthy lifestyle.

In her remarks, AG Healey told students that she has seen the far-reaching impact of substance abuse on families across the state.

“Addiction is a disease and we need to start treating it that way,” said AG Healey. “It doesn’t discriminate. It knows no socioeconomic boundaries, no geographical boundaries. It impacts high school athletes, college students, mothers with young children, wealthy people and working class people – folks from all walks of life.”

Today’s conference is just one of AG Healey’s many efforts to address the opiate crisis. The AG’s Office is supporting preventative education initiatives across the state for young people and their parents, for doctors and their prescribers, for pharmacists and for those at risk of becoming addicted.

AG Healey is also working to make Narcan, the life-saving overdose reversal drug, more affordable and has demanded explanations for significant price spikes from the company that produces the nasal spray version of the drug.

The office is supporting state legislation to address the opiate crisis and is meeting with both state and federal lawmakers to identify opportunities for funding.

Today’s conference is a part of a partnership between the MIAA and the Attorney General’s Office’s new Community Engagement Division. The recently launched division will bring the work of the Attorney General’s Office into neighborhoods and communities across the state. The division is working with communities to schedule office hours, bringing the resource of the AG’s Office directly into communities at times that are more convenient for working people and their families.