Drug Addiction

Baker unveils new opioid legislation

Baker unveils new opioid legislation

Focuses on need for standards in addiction treatment

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER on Monday unveiled his second legislative proposal to deal with the opioid epidemic, focusing primarily on expanding access to treatment, demanding more vigilance on opioid prescriptions, and providing education on addiction in schools. Since hospital emergency rooms are witnessing a sharp rise in opioid-related visits (33,444 in 2015), the governor’s bill attempts(...)

Read More »

On pot, just say yes and no

While no one is yet declaring the wall of opposition to the retail sale of recreational marijuana has been demolished, there are a few cracks beginning to appear that are letting some smoke seep through. In the year since statewide voters approved Question 4 allowing for legal adult use of pot, more than 100 communities(...)

Read More »

Addressing inmate addiction must be a priority

Addressing inmate addiction must be a priority

Treatment for prisoners will help address the state's opioid crisis

THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE BILLS recently passed by the Massachusetts Senate and released by the House Committee on Ways and Means provide sensible reform to failed criminal justice approaches, including doing away with some mandatory minimum sentences for minor drug offenses. These reforms are both pragmatic and just. By shifting the focus away from laws and(...)

Read More »

Public health emergency rings hollow

Public health emergency rings hollow

Medicaid cuts would deepen opioid crisis

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S ANNOUNCEMENT that the opioid epidemic is a public health emergency certainly drew attention to the problem, but in reality it is an empty declaration that, at least as of yet, provides no real resources to fight the epidemic. The announcement will give the government more flexibility in the services that are made available(...)

Read More »

Islanders want their pot, too

Islanders want their pot, too

Residents urge state commissioners to help them navigate federal obstacles

THE “LISTENING TOUR” by the board charged with regulating the state’s emerging marijuana industry landed on Martha’s Vineyard Tuesday, where the two members heard pleas from pro-pot advocates to help their island as well as Nantucket steer clear of the federal obstacles no other communities in Massachusetts face. About 70 people crowded into the West(...)

Read More »

Colleges can’t be bystanders on opioids

Colleges can’t be bystanders on opioids

Campuses need to step up to avoid overdose tragedies 

THE OPIOID CRISIS, rooted in the overprescribing of painkillers, has seized the attention of public officials from Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill. So, too, has the inadequacy of mental health services on college campuses become well documented. But so far, neither policymakers nor college administrators have connected the dots between the painkiller epidemic and the(...)

Read More »

Drugs are best treatment for opioid abuse

Drugs are best treatment for opioid abuse

Relying on medication is not a morally compromised approach

THE OPIOID ADDICTION crisis in the United States has prompted leaders at the state and federal level to promise more money, new laws, and greater focus on the problem. That focus is needed but so far the policy goals lack clear definition. Even as attention on the problem has ramped up, we have continued to(...)

Read More »

Walsh: Legalizing marijuana ‘huge mistake’

Walsh: Legalizing marijuana ‘huge mistake’

Mayor won’t block pot shops, but not welcoming them

SOME WIRES APPEAR TO BE CROSSED at Boston City Hall. One of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s top aides said at the end of last month that the mayor has changed his tune about pot, that the one-time opponent is now embracing the industry as an economic engine and comparing it to alcohol in its social(...)

Read More »

Baker opens a legal can of worms

Baker opens a legal can of worms

Pushes strict liability for deaths caused by distributing illegal drugs

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER filed new legislation last month to battle the opioid crisis. His bill proposes some “important updates” to our arsenal of weapons in this fight, one of which, he says, would add a measure of “accountability” to the current strategy of treatment, education, and prevention. Specifically, the governor intends to “ensure that those who(...)

Read More »

New pot czar has inhaled

New pot czar has inhaled

Hoffman says drug is 'harmless' but can be abused

DESPITE VOTING AGAINST the referendum to legalize marijuana last November, Steven Hoffman, the chairman of the new state board charged with regulating the nascent retail pot industry, said he thinks the drug is “harmless” and will cause no more problems than alcohol. “I personally believe marijuana is a harmless drug,” Hoffman said in an interview(...)

Read More »