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Opiod Crisis

The opioid crisis is decimating families all over the country including right here in the First Middlesex District.  During a 12 hour period in March there were four overdose deaths in the City of Lowell alone due to a deadly mixture of heroin or cocaine and fentanyl.  This has to stop.   

Addiction permeates so many layers of our life.  The addict’s life begins to slowly spiral out of control picking up speed.  In direct contrast with who they truly are they begin participating in risky activities to feed their addiction.  As their addiction progresses they become part of our overburdened child welfare system, our health care system, and risk becoming part of the criminal justice system.  We need to create greater awareness at a very young age about how opiates affect individuals and steal their future by drawing the life right out of them.  

We need more programs and funding for treatment programs like Meghan’s House in Lowell.  It’s an entire life immersion program to relearn how to become a productive member of society.  When an addict is at the point where their family is in turmoil from their addiction and they’ve been through countless treatment programs without success we as a society have to a degree failed.  We need to make an impact at the beginning of the addiction cycle not when it’s a full blown family crisis.  

Many young people become addicted after surgery for a sports related injury.  My own daughter had a major sports injury that required surgery and the use of pain medications.  Luckily, we were keenly aware of the issues surrounding prescription medication and were vigilant with watching for signs and moving her on to over the counter medication as quickly as possible.  We are thankful we were one of the fortunate ones. We need to require that before any surgery people are warned of the effects of opioids and the signs to watch for.  

We’ve certainly made strides in educating people about prescription opioids but we need to do more.  As part of the High School education curriculum I would propose that all Health Classes taught in the Commonwealth include an Opioid Awareness component.  Included in the class will be video testimonial of former addicts explaining the reality of what they went through and how they managed to get their life back together. It’s critical that we get to these young people before they fall victim to this crisis.  We don’t want to lose another generation.     

Committee to Elect Rodney Elliott
PO Box 2371 Lowell, MA 01851
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