State must combat addiction epidemic

The Massachusetts Health Council’s report cited the devastation of lives lost to fatal opioid overdoses in Massachusetts. We know too well that drug use is an epidemic (“Report warns of drug use in state,” Metro, Nov. 14).

There is no magic cure. However, Massachusetts recently passed a Good Samaritan law featuring two important public health policies.

The first allows for broader use of naloxone, a life-saving medication that reverses opiate overdose. The second encourages people to call 911 without fear of prosecution for drug possession when their only mission is to save the life of an overdose victim.


From 2002 to 2009, a total of 4,500 people in Massachusetts died from an opiate overdose. In the last few years alone, naloxone has saved more than 1,400 lives, but the medication has only been distributed in certain communities.

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Addiction should be treated as a significant public health issue and recovery recognized as valuable to all communities. We can all help make Massachusetts number 1 for prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Maryanne Frangules

Executive director

Massachusetts Organization
for Addiction Recovery