OPIOIDS

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker unveiled his budgt proposal for FY20 on January 23, 2019.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Last week, Massachusetts House lawmakers unanimously passed a $135 million midyear spending bill. It was the first major piece of legislation that was taken up in the new session. 

Massachusetts should test the use of clinics where drug users can shoot up or inhale drugs, and be revived by medical staff if needed because such clinics save lives. That’s the gist of a recommendation to state lawmakers that will be included in a report due later this week.

That and other findings about ways to reduce deaths in the opioid epidemic come from a special commission that included current and former drug users, two mayors, doctors, law enforcement and legal experts, as well as state government appointees.

Opioid overdose deaths are down in Massachusetts. The latest quarterly data from the Baker administration show 4 percent fewer fatalities in 2018 as compared to 2017. That’s 82 fewer men and women who could not be revived after an overdose, according to preliminary estimates.

Tim Purington, at a 2017 party marking his retirement from Tapestry Health.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Public health leaders in western Massachusetts are mourning the death of advocate Tim Purington, who was best known for his role in protecting drug users from disease.

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