Senator Markey Joins Gloucester Police Chief Campanello to Discuss Heroin and Prescription Drug Epidemic

Meeting highlighted need for federal, state and local action to prevent opioid overdoses

Washington (May 12, 2015) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today met with Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello and Massachusetts State Rep. Donald Wong to discuss solutions to the prescription drug and heroin epidemic plaguing Gloucester, Cape Anne and Massachusetts and the New England region. In the meeting, Senator Markey and Chief Campanello discussed the need to attack the demand for illegal drugs by increasing and improving access to treatment and recovery services. Chief Campanello recently announced a commitment by the Gloucester Police Department to pay the cost of nasal Narcan for those without insurance and ensure addicts who come to the police station will not be charged and will receive on-the-spot assistance in accessing treatment.

“Gloucester was one of the first cities to model the effective use of nasal naloxone to prevent opioid overdoses, and Chief Campanello is continuing Gloucester’s commitment to innovation and compassion to address the prescription drug and heroin epidemic,” said Senator Markey. “His leadership is a model for police chiefs around the state and the country. By viewing an individual as a potential patient with a substance use disorder, instead of treating them as a criminal, we have a chance at breaking the cycle of addiction and reducing both demand and supply of illicit drugs. I look forward to partnering with Chief Campanello and the Gloucester Police Department, and will fight for the resources Massachusetts cities and towns need to battle this scourge devastating our families.”

 

“I would like to thank Senator Markey for his leadership and for lending his time today. We were able to have a productive meeting about addiction and recovery efforts, which we both feel passionately about,” said Chief Campanello. “I walked away from the conversation certain of the Senator’s commitment to placing the issues of addiction and recovery at the forefront of the national conversation. This is a monumental step forward in helping communities provide the necessary resources for residents to get the help they need.”

 

In March, Senators Markey, Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced the bipartisan Opioid Overdose Reduction Act to protect first responders, health professionals and family members who are educated in administering an opioid overdose prevention drug, such as naloxone (also known as Narcan) in an emergency situation of overdose. In February, Senator Markey joined his colleagues in reintroducing bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the National All-Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) program, which provides grants to states to maintain, improve, and expand their prescription drug monitoring programs. In 2014, Senator Markey convened roundtables in BostonTaunton and Holyoke, Massachusetts to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the opiate addiction and overdose epidemic.

 

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