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To counter addiction, providers need safer options to manage pain

Brigham and Women’s Hospital observed National Recovery Month in September 2021 with a two-week-long arrangement of 2,104 purple flags at Thea and James M. Stoneman Centennial Park. The display is being arranged by SOAR Natick, a nonprofit organization that creates outreach activities to educate the community about opioid addiction and to bring awareness to the opioid epidemic. The flags represent the number of confirmed and estimated opioid deaths in 2020.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

As a Roxbury native, I have a deep love for my community. When the opioid epidemic’s toll on the neighborhood worsened drastically in recent years, I had to step in.

That’s why, in 2020, I joined fellow Roxbury native Domingos DaRosa to create the South End-Roxbury Community Partnership. We engage with local officials to address the opioid epidemic.

Still, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths are on the rise statewide. In the 12 months ending in June 2021, more than 1,400 Massachusetts residents died of a drug overdose — an increase from the previous year — with the majority attributed to opioids. In response, the CDC is revisiting some of its guidance related to opioid prescribing.


Yet Congress must also address this challenge. The Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation Act would provide medical professionals greater access to reliable, safe non-opioid pain management options. This bill would give providers, patients, and caregivers a choice when it comes to managing post-surgical pain.

The toll of the opioid epidemic on Boston communities is devastating. I urge Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and the entire Massachusetts congressional delegation to support the NOPAIN Act. Your constituents’ lives depend on it.

Yahaira Lopez