Hampden County Sheriff announces plans to fight the opioid crisi - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM


Hampden County Sheriff announces plans to fight the opioid crisis

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

Two new stabilization and treatment centers will be opening up in western Mass. local authorities announced Wednesday morning to help combat the opioid addiction crisis in our region. 

This will be for those individuals who are civilly committed under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 123, Section 35. Not for criminals, we're told. 

Section 35 allows the court to order someone who has a substance abuse to treatment if there is a good chance they may harm someone, or themselves.

“These people are not criminals, they are citizens, civilly committed for treatment because of of their severe addiction to drugs and alcohol," said Sheriff Nick Cocchi. 

[READ MORE - Frequently Asked Questions About Civil Commitments. What you need to know]

Western Mass News was there when Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi revealed the plan to open the centers.  One will be located in Springfield, and the other in Ludlow, 

The major announcement was made at 9:30 a.m. at the Recovery and Wellness Center on Mill Street by Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi.

Multiple state, local, and community leaders were in attendance to hear what Sheriff Cocchi had to say.

The announcement includes a partnership and initiative to address the opioid addiction crisis sweeping not just the Commonwealth, but the nation as well.

Just last week, the fight against opioids continued in Springfield. Police arrested five people, four of them younger than 24, suspected of heroin trafficking in Hampden County. Officers seized more than $100,000 worth of heroin.

"Here in western Massachusetts it’s going to be a better place for those that are in the throes of this addiction," said Ludlow Board of Selectman, William Rooney.

According to the state, opioid related deaths are down in 2018. The most recent data from the state’s department of public health reported that opioid related deaths are down 5 percent over the first 3 months of 2018, compared to 2017.

The report also found that total opioid-related deaths in 2017 dropped 6 percent from the previous year, marking the first year-to-year decline in 8 years.

“We will stay with them as long as it takes to help them successfully get back on their feet," said Cocchi.

Governor Charlie Baker has doubled spending in the last 3 years to address the crisis, increasing the number of substance abuse treatment beds in sober homes, and announcing the CARE act in November, which would increase access to treatment and recovery services, while strengthening education. The CARE act is currently awaiting legislative action.

Among those at Wednesday’s announcement were District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and medical officials from area hospitals and recovery centers.


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