OPIOIDS

Opioids
Hailey R. Staker / U.S. Air Force

Pittsfield, Sturbridge, West Springfield, Palmer, and Charlton are among the cities and towns in central and western Massachusetts that are taking legal action against manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

For the first time in seven years, say Massachusetts officials, the death rate from opioid-related overdoses is decreasing.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health

The number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts fell an estimated 8.3 percent from 2016 to 2017, marking the first year-over-year decline in several years, the Department of Public Health announced Wednesday. 

Purdue Pharma, the Stamford-based maker of Oxycontin, says it will no longer be marketing its bestselling opioid to physicians. 

At first glance, the numbers look optimistic. After three years of increases in family court cases related to addiction such as child abuse and neglect, numbers were down for fiscal year 2017.

More than three months after President Trump declared the nation's opioid crisis a public health emergency, activists and health care providers say they're still waiting for some other action.

The Trump administration quietly renewed the declaration recently. But it has given no signs it's developing a comprehensive strategy to address an epidemic that claims more than 115 lives every day. The president now says that to combat opioids, he's focused on enforcement, not treatment.

Former Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg confirmed to reporters Thursday that he had separated from his husband Bryon Hefner, who is undergoing treatment after allegations of sexual assault.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

The Massachusetts Senate has accepted the resignation letter of Senator Linda Forry, who accepted a job in the private sector. Just weeks before, Forry had been angling to lead the chamber, as Amherst Democrat Stan Rosenberg stepped aside amid a sexual harassment investigation into his spouse. 

A demonstrator at a women's march in Jan. 2017.
bones64 / Creative Commons

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker pitched his newest opioid bill to state lawmakers this week. It calls for dozens of provisions to overhaul treatment, tightening restrictions on prescribing, with a focus on educating young people on the dangers of opioids. 

Springfield, Mass., Mayor Against Injection Sites

Jan 15, 2018
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno
File photo / MassLive / MassLive.com/photos

The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts, said he cannot support on-site opioid injection facilities. That comes ahead of a hearing Tuesday on Governor Charlie Baker's opioid bill. 

Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders.
Antonio Caban / State House News Service

By the end of this week, the federal government will either shut down, or pass another spending extension in order to keep government running. 

It's no secret why drug users come to George Patterson in a mall parking lot just outside Phoenix to get their clean needles, syringes and other supplies on Tuesday afternoons, instead of heading to the pharmacy down the street.

"It's really low-barrier the way we are doing it," Patterson says. "All you have to do is find us."

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