WILMINGTON, MA — At last month’s 19th Middlesex State Representative debate, candidates were asked what they would do to help residents struggling with opioid addiction.
“I am a strong believer in early education and prevention programs and properly funding treatment and recovery programs,” said Pina Prinzivalli (R-Tewksbury). “We’ve had some recovery homes come into the district, which is great [as] I think it’s needed. We just need to make sure they’re property located.”
“As I’ve been knocking on doors, I’ve been hearing from residents that they’d like to see tougher punishment for drug dealers,” added Prinzivalli. “I would like to continue the work that the 19th Middlesex has been doing. Governor Baker has done a great job with the opioid crisis and I hope to have the opportunity to work with him [on this issue].”
“The opioid crisis is still something that’s ravaging both of our communities,” said Dave Robertson (D-Tewksbury). “Over the last year, the Legislature passed Chapter 55, a comprehensive study between hospitals, private sector, physicians, specialists, police departments, and other authorities. The Legislature passed a few things, one of which is legislation that prevents doctor shopping, which is a great thing that should be expanded upon. They also increased the number of beds available…”
“As State Representative, I would like to see the DARE program brought back and funded so that police can go into our school system, as well as reach all segments of our population including the elderly, who are quite often the victims of theft and abuse of these pills,” added Robertson. “I’d also like to see not only the criminalization of fentanyl, but any substance to cut.”
“I have read the Governor’s plan and I’ve looked at all the initiatives. It’s a good plan, but it doesn’t go far enough and it hasn’t been completed… The insurance companies on board. Those types of things need to be completed, then build from there,” said Patricia Meuse (I-Tewksbury). “Bill 4407 would bring more education into the schools and classrooms. It hasn’t been approved yet. We need everyone to get together — all the stakeholders — and talk about that bill…”
“We need more money for beds. We need to catch these people before they fall again,” added Meuse. “They overdose, they get narcaned. They overdose, they get narcaned. There needs to be something done, like Casey’s Law in Kentucky, which allows addicts to be put in treatment plans without them accepting it.”
Watch the debate, courtesy of Wilmington Community Television, below. Fast-foward to 07:58 for the opioid discussion.
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