Private Sector Joins Fight to Curb Opioid Epidemic in Massachusetts - NECN
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Private Sector Joins Fight to Curb Opioid Epidemic in Massachusetts

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Elected officials in Massachusetts are launching a new effort to fight the opioid crisis.

    (Published Tuesday, March 28, 2017)

    Elected officials in Massachusetts are launching a new effort to fight the opioid crisis.

    A new campaign backed by business leaders, elected officials, and health care professionals is relying heavily on some of the area's biggest businesses like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and General Electric.

    Guillermina Montanez, of Chelsea, knows the perils of addiction all too well.

    At three months of being drug-free, she is a testament to the success that can be achieved with the right programs and support system in place.

    “You think you’re all alone but you’re not,” Montanez said.

    But a big obstacle in achieving widespread recovery, especially with the opioid crisis, has been the lack of funding for organizations like Community Action Programs Inter-City, or CAPIC.

    “They go into detox, after detox they have nowhere to go, so we have to try to get them into sober living and that’s always a challenge,” said Gladys Valentin-Agneta with CAPIC.

    And that’s where Rize Massachusetts comes in.

    “This is the opportunity for us in Massachusetts to do what we’ve long needed to do,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said.

    The newly formed independent non-profit is a partnership of healthcare professionals, community organizations and business leaders that has pledged to raise $50 million over the next three years to fight opioid addiction.

    “It’s important for us to make sure that not only do we provide the treatment that people need, but we need to make sure that we start to continue to work on the prevention that people need as well,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said.

    That infusion of funding and resources could help recovering addicts like Montanez continue down the path of recovery.

    “It really is about time that people realize that just because we do drugs we’re not bad people, we just, we’re dealing with problems, and don’t sometimes know how to deal with it,” Montanez said.

    Rize Massachusetts has already secured commitments for $13 million of the $50 million in funding the group hopes to raise.

    It will then award grants to take a more targeted approach to addiction treatment and prevention.

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