Address ripple effects of opioid crisis
To the editor:
Positive steps are being taken in Massachusetts in confronting the opioid crisis. The governor and Legislature devoted funds for Narcan, which has saved lives. There is preventive education in schools, doctors are required to check into the prescription database, a first-in-the-nation seven-day limit on first-time opioid prescriptions has been established, and more.
Now, we welcome the news that Berkshire Health Systems is opening a 30-bed facility for essential longer term care of 14-30 days. An application to expand the Brien Center's program for women at Keenan House by 16 beds has been submitted but The Eagle indicates the center is "yet to receive a response."
People know well the ripple effect that impacts the families, children and everyone else surrounding an addict. Often, children of addicts are appropriately taken into the care of the Department of Children and Families and placed in foster homes. However, already overburdened DCF needs more social workers, more foster homes and related services to deal with the increase in children coming into their care. Waiting lists for supportive mental health, substance abuse and treatment services are impossibly long when people need immediate support to get and keep clean and reclaim their lives and those of their children.
We're moving in the right direction, but the Legislature also needs to focus on the ripple effects and maintain its sense of urgency by allocating additional funds to touch every corner of this crisis. Our Berkshire legislators understand this — the governor could use a nudge!
Cathy Deely, Pittsfield