February 24, 2017

Massachusetts city makes policy shift on the opioid crisis

Massachusetts State Law has a provision, called Section 35, which gives the Judiciary the ability to court-order treatment for individuals with severe Substance Use Disorders for up to 90 days against their will. This is often a sticking point for many in the recovery world. Many adhere to the belief that non-self-initiated recovery will not achieve positive outcomes. However, from a public policy standpoint, with the old mill towns in Middlesex County being decimated to such a horrific degree, standing by and waiting for individuals to come to change on their own timeline is no longer an acceptable tact. The public health crisis in Lowell, MA, has forced the city and its new harm reduction and outreach program, CO-OP, to take drastic steps. The early data has shown a reduction in opioid overdoses in Lowell by 55%, dropping to 22 in the second half of 2016, compared with 40 in the first six months.



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