Government Was On Cusp Of Alerting Public About Opioid Crisis 13 Years Ago. Why It Didn’t Remains A Mystery.
Top government officials flagged "disturbing" data around opioids and addiction back in 2006 and requested urgent action be taken. Then-U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona agreed to issue a call to action. But then the momentum fizzled after a new surgeon general came on and 13 years later, the crisis continues to grip the country.
Federal Scientists Warned Of Coming Opioid Crisis In 2006
Two of the government’s top scientists detected the first signs of the emerging opioid crisis back in 2006 and tried to warn health officials and the public of the coming catastrophe, according to a confidential document obtained by POLITICO. The effort didn’t lead to any real action, and the toll of death and addiction climbed. More than 133,000 people have died from prescription opioids since then — and hundreds of thousands more from street drugs including heroin and illicit fentanyl. (Ehley, 8/21)
In other news on the opioid epidemic —
County Jail Approved To Become A Methadone Clinic
Officials at the Franklin County House of Correction in Greenfield said their facility is the first in the state and among the first in the country to choose this arduous approach to providing methadone, a key medication for treating opioid addiction. The few jails and prisons that provide methadone typically contract with community providers rather than becoming methadone clinics themselves. (Freyer, 8/20)
Longtime Walsh Friend And Ally Coordinates City’s Response To South End
William “Buddy” Christopher, a longtime City Hall insider , was appointed in June by Mayor Martin J. Walsh as Boston’s first-ever czar to coordinate its response to the intersection at Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, known as Methadone Mile because of the concentration of addiction recovery services in the area. Seemingly overnight, Christopher has been thrust into the spotlight as tensions flared in recent weeks between the area’s addiction service providers, advocates, residents, and businesses over the open-air drug dealing and disorder in the area. (Valencia 8/20)
New Hampshire Union Leader:
Gillibrand Says NH Helped Form Her Mental Health Plan
Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand said seeing the toll of the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire helped frame her policy on mental health. The New York senator is expected to talk extensively about her new plan during a round table on the topic at Amoskeag Health in Manchester Tuesday morning. ... The Union Leader obtained a copy of the plan in which the candidate vows, if elected, to help end the stigma around mental illness. She said the stigma has made many uncomfortable to talk about how the system has failed them. (Landrigan, 8/20)