LOWELL, MA – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan was joined Monday by United States Senator Edward Markey at a special meeting of District Attorney Ryan’s Lowell Opioid Task Force.
The meeting was attended by public safety officials from the communities of Lowell, Tyngsborough, Tewksbury, Chelmsford, Billerica, and Wilmington.
District Attorney Ryan highlighted the fact that collaborative efforts of the Lowell Opioid Task Force have served as a model for creating streamlined efforts across the county; promoting a universal approach to addressing the opioid problem; creating regional capacity to support and sustain local initiatives; replicating model approaches across the region; and creating systemic practices to effect large-scale policy change.
“The Lowell Opioid Task Force was created in 2012 with Senator Eileen Donoghue to foster partnerships among law enforcement, healthcare professionals, and recovery specialists, and to develop solutions to the epidemic, including recognizing secondary victims, such as children and seniors,” said District Attorney Ryan. “While there is still more work to be done, we are optimistic in that the City of Lowell has had a 21.5 percent decline in unattended fatal overdoses when compared to this time last year. Senator Markey has worked tirelessly at the federal level on this important issue, and his presence at this task force meeting illustrates his commitment to this topic.”
“It will take a comprehensive strategy at the local, state, and federal levels to address the opioid crisis, and the Lowell Opioid Task Force is an excellent example of collaboration that brings all stakeholders together to focus on solutions. I congratulate DA Ryan for her leadership and all the members of the task force who are devoting their time and expertise to this important effort. I pledge to fight in the Senate for the resources Lowell and all of our Massachusetts cities and towns will need to put in place the prevention, treatment and recovery services that can help save lives from opioid addiction,” said Senator Markey.
At Monday’s meeting, Senator Markey highlighted initiatives at the federal level directed towards increasing funding for drug treatment resources and creating a coordinated approach to addressing substance misuse and illicit drug trafficking.
The meeting was attended by State Senator Eileen Donoghue, Lowell Mayor Edward Kennedy, Lowell City Manager Kevin Murphy, Lowell City Councilors Corey Belanger and Rita Mercier, Lowell School Committeeman Robert Gignac, and Lowell General Hospital CEO Jody White.
Representatives were also present from the Office of Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, the Office of Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, Walgreens, CVS Health, Lowell Community Health Center, the Massachusetts Trial Court, Middlesex Community College, UMass Lowell, Recovery Centers of America, Wicked Sober, Lowell House, Megan’s House, UTEC, Middlesex Defense Attorneys, the Department of Children and Families, the Mental Health Association of Greater Lowell, Middlesex Recovery, Trinity Ambulance, the Moms Do Care Project, and the Institute for Health and Recovery.
(NOTE: The above press release is from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.)
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