New England news in brief


State gets $90 million to fight opioids

Federal authorities have committed more than $90 million to Massachusetts over two years to combat the opioid crisis, according to a Wednesday announcement. The funding is part of more than $1.8 billion the US Department of Health Services is giving to states to expand access to treatment and support “near real-time data on the drug overdose crisis.” The number of people who died from opioid-related overdoses in Massachusetts dropped by 4 percent in 2018, the second consecutive year to show a slight drop-off, according to data released earlier this year. Nearly 2,000 lives were lost in 2018 — more than double the number just five years earlier, according to the data. (Danny McDonald)



Swastika found in school auditorium

On the first day of the new school year at Needham High School, a student found a small swastika scratched into a bathroom stall one of the bathroom stalls at Needham High School, principal Aaron Sicotte said in a letter to parents Wednesday. The student told a teacher about the Nazi symbol, who reported it to administrators. After speaking to students seen entering the bathroom on footage from a hallway camera, staff concluded the vandalism likely was done over the summer, when the school was “heavily used by a variety of programs,” Sicotte wrote. The graffiti was documented by administration and resource officers and removed, the principal said. (Sofia Saric)

Portland, Maine

Lobstermen drop support of whale plan

An organization that represents Maine’s lobster fishermen is pulling support of a proposed plan to protect endangered right whales. There are only about 400 of the whales, which are prone to entanglement in fishing gear. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association says it’s taken a closer reading of the science behind the plan, which a federal team recommended in April. Association executive director Patrice McCarron said federal data show the lobster fishery is, in fact, ‘‘the least significant cause of right whale serious injury or mortality.’’ Adoption of the plan is likely to result in reduction of lobster fishing lines in the water. McCarron said it would put too much of the onus on the lobster industry. (AP)