Former Lieutenant Governor Murray was named Chair of the Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention when Governor Patrick re-established the Council by Executive Order #496 on January 11, 2008. With the Lt Governor's departure in May 2013, Department of Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett began to chair the Council. Under former Lt. Governor Murray’s leadership, the Council released an Updated Strategic Plan in 2010 including eight focus areas to guide the Commonwealth in its efforts to address inappropriate abuse, use, or addiction over the next five years.
The Council, which formally meets four times a year, maximizes coordination regularly across state agencies to increase collaboration on key issues relating to substance abuse, treatment, and prevention. In doing so, Governor Patrick and the Council continuously discuss, enhance, and implement key policy initiatives on such as expanding recovery high schools, increasing awareness on underage drinking, reforming the prescription monitoring program, developing education and training tools for physicians, and working with local municipalities, individuals and families.
Former Lt. Governor Murray and the Council worked closely to implement an updated Prescription Monitoring Program, which was rolled out in 2011, to help combat opioid abuse. The program includes an online, real-time program that allows prescribers and law enforcement to review the prescription history of patients featuring real-time technology. The program includes over 1300 prescribers, and is a critical example of how Massachusetts continues to combat substance abuse across the Commonwealth.