Mass. Gov Speaks at Opioid Conference

With overdose deaths in Massachusetts reaching record highs, doctors are looking to improve their relationships with patients as a way to combat the crisis.

Speaking at the International Conference on Opioids at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker explained to medical professionals why he decided to make opioid abuse a priority of his administration.

"It didn't matter where I was, it didn't matter what part of the Commonwealth I was in, it didn't matter what kind of neighborhood I was in, it didn't matter what the socio-economic demographic make up I was talking to was, it was literally everywhere," Baker began.

And Baker shared what he told his son last fall who was prescribed opioids following a college football injury that left him with broken arm: "I said, 'look, if you want to take a few of those, ok, but please, take a few of them and then stop. Because frankly, they're dangerous.'"

Baker made his remarks a week before his Opioid task force is scheduled to make recommendations.

And he agreed with Keynote Speaker Mary Jeane Kreek, an addiction disease expert, that getting rid of the addiction stigma should be a priority along with education.

She said, "Most medical schools have less than two hours of curriculum on addiction, less than two hours of curriculum on pharmacokinetics. Essentially All these great schools essentially have no curriculum in their required curriculum studies."

Asked what he thought of the new approach by the Gloucester Police Department of offering treatment rather than punishment to addicts- Baker said it was an idea worth trying.

"I've said for a long time that I don't think there is a quote silver bullet here. I think there are a whole bunch of components associated with prevention and education and treatment and we're going to have to try a bunch of different things," Baker said. 

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