Senate drug addiction committee discusses options in Holyoke - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Senate drug addiction committee discusses options in Holyoke

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Earlier this year the state Senate formed a special committee to study drug addiction and the treatment options in the state. The committee met in Holyoke on Monday to hear possible solutions.

The special committee on drug abuse and treatment heard from doctors at the Providence Behavioral Health Hospital on ways to treat and prevent drug addiction in the community.

Dr. Robert Roose is the chief medical officer for addiction services for the Sisters of Providence Health System. Roose testified Monday to offer solutions for the state's opiate addiction crisis. Roose said one of his first recommendations is to expand medication assisted treatment options to patients.

"It involves having increased access to three medications that have been proven effective and life saving in addressing this crisis at a national level. The Department of Human Services, The National Institute of Health and the Centers for Meditative Medicare Services have all advocated for expanding this kind of treatment," said Roose. 

Roose said addiction should be treated as a medical disease, and there is no single treatment that is right for everyone. 

Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan said it's a time to discuss solutions like prescription monitoring and health education in schools and hospitals. 

"We have a prescription take back program where we've collected over 17,000 pounds of medications in the last three years. We're also moving toward universal Narcan so that every community and every first responder will have that available to them so they can address those overdoses when they have them and save lives," said Sullivan.

Hampden County Jail Superintendent Jay Ashe said he wants to prevent addicts from re-entering the system, and to have the resources to work with them to re-establish themselves in the community. 

"Right now there aren't enough resources to get treatment on demand if someone was even mandated from court on a probationary basis, those slots aren't even available for the people to go in," said Ashe.

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