Massachusetts Lawmakers Slash Funds for Tewksbury Sober Home

Director of Into Action Recovery in Tewksbury says a long-term sober home had been in the works for two years

Some Massachusetts residents say state officials are taking a step back in the battle against opioids due to recent budget cuts.

Lawmakers on the other hand say overall, they continue to increase the funding against opioids.

David Hanley, the Program Director of Into Action Recovery in Tewksbury says the recent cuts are a huge blow to their community and the people who need the most help.

"It's unbelievable how many people are being lost that can't get treatment they're seeking," Hanley said.

He says they've been working on opening a long-term sober home in the Merrimack Valley for two years now to help drug addicts and alcoholics recover.

A $200,000 grant from the state was supposed to help make that happen for the non-profit this month.

But, Gov. Charlie Baker recently slashed that money from his 2017 budget.

"It was like they pulled the rug from under us," said Hanley.

To make matters worse, Hanley's 31-Year-old brother, Derek Hanley, recently passed away. He was on a wait list for a bed in a sober-home.

"It's almost like a cruel twist in this whole thing," he said.

Derek Hanley left behind a wife and 11-day-old baby.

"Not the type of kid you'd think would succumb to this type of disease. He was the captain of his football team, two time wresting champion in Massachusetts," Hanley said.

A spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services released a statement Tuesday night:

“The Baker-Polito administration is fully committed to investing in the resources necessary to fight the opioid crisis. While some local earmarks were reduced, overall spending for substance abuse will still increase compared to last year and since January 2016, the administration has licensed an additional 450 treatment beds for all levels of care and certified more than 1,700 sober beds.”

Hanley hopes the state will reconsider.

"That happens all too often across the state. And that's something we want to remedy," he said. "Long term available beds is something the state lacks."

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