Senator commends Massachusetts opiates treatment legislation signed today by Governor Patrick


Boston (August 6, 2014) – Today at the Boston Medical Center, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) convened the heads of the four major federal agencies responsible for addressing substance abuse to discuss and develop a comprehensive strategy for combatting the prescription drug and heroin epidemic plaguing Massachusetts and the country. Michael Botticelli, Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP); Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); Pamela S. Hyde, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); and Joseph Rannazzisi, Deputy Administrator of the Office of Diversion Control of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) joined the Senator and state and local representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, City of Boston Health & Human Services, Boston Police Department, Massachusetts Hospital Association, Massachusetts Medical Society, Learn to Cope and many more to share solutions in prevention, treatment and enforcement. In Massachusetts, approximately 65,000 people are currently dependent on opioids; 50,000 of these need treatment but aren’t currently receiving it. Approximately 100 Americans die from an overdose every day. 


“Prescription drug and heroin addiction is a public health emergency as virulent as any microbe and as persistent as any physical enemy,” said Senator Markey. “An issue as complex as opioid addiction requires a multi-pronged solution. Today, we brought together science, medicine, public health and law enforcement to develop a plan of action for how to comprehensively address an epidemic that is tearing apart our families and our neighborhoods.  In the coming weeks, I will be releasing a comprehensive strategy for combating the prescription drug and heroin crisis, which will include an array of prevention, treatment and enforcement approaches that will help to reduce the harms of addiction now.


“I applaud Governor Patrick and the Massachusetts state legislature for their leadership in supporting and passing legislation that will help remove barriers to treatment for those suffering from addiction. Treatment for opioid addiction should not be harder to access than the actual heroin and prescription painkillers that are destroying our communities. I will continue to work with federal, state and local officials to help make effective treatments available in the communities and for the people who need it most.”