Monday, September 8, 2014

Reports on the Opioid Drug Crisis

The news today, in Massachusetts and across the country, is filled with stories of heroin and oxycontin abuse and of tragedy which follows usage of and addiction to these drugs. During this year in particular, Governor Patrick of Massachusetts has done much to help the state face this crisis. There have also been numerous earlier initiatives about this during his administration. In November 2009, Recommendations of the OxyContin and Heroin Commission Commonwealth of Massachusetts was published and emphasized the state’s commitment to tackling this crisis.

In the five years since the above report was written, there has been a tremendous increase in the numbers of people touched by these addictions.  In response, on March 27th of this year, Governor Patrick declared a Public Health Emergency and outlined new goals for addressing it.  This initiative echoed our neighboring Governor, Vermont’s Peter Shumlin’s 2014 address decrying the crisis in his State of the State Vermont.

Our Governor’s goals saw the development of a Task Force to study the crisis. Membership included not just experts in the field and community leaders, but also first responders, members of the judiciary and family members touched by these addictions. On June 10th their findings were released in a report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health titled Findings of the Opioid Task Force and Department of Public Health Recommendations on Priorities for Investments in Prevention, Intervention, Treatment and Recovery.

To view these two major state reports online please go to the State Library’s digital collections and search by subject. Because these two studies are available online, people from all over can learn about ways to address this epidemic.

The mission of the library includes the attempt to retrieve state documents such as these as quickly as possible. They are used by state agencies, by legislators, research organizations, by the medical community and also by the general public.

We would also be delighted to help you in person. The State Library is located in Rooms 341, 442 and 55 (our Special Collections Department) of the Massachusetts State House. The hours are 9AM to 5PM. We have public computers for visitors.

Pamela W. Schofield
Legislative Reference Librarian