Democrat Visits Lowell Recovery Center; Hits Trump-era Lag in Support
Democrat Steve Kerrigan today unveiled an aggressive plan to support opioid addiction and recovery services throughout the 3rd District, criticizing federal support during this devastating epidemic and promising more will be done on his watch.
On the eve of President Trump’s State of the Union, Kerrigan said the federal government is failing families and communities throughout the district – and nation.
“Communities throughout the district need to rise up, insist more and not take ‘we’re trying as hard as we can’ for an acceptable answer,” said Kerrigan. “This crisis needs to rise to the level of national emergency – with vastly increased access to treatment, awareness in public schools and stronger enforcement of illegal drug sales and trafficking.”
Kerrigan is the first candidate in the 3rd District to detail a plan focused on the opioid epidemic.
Before his announcement, Kerrigan toured and met with leaders at Megan’s House in Lowell, a residential treatment facility for women and men, and discussed their success and needs.
“Community treatment centers see the devastating effects of addiction every day, and know what it is they need from policymakers to help them save and rebuild lives,” Kerrigan said.
In his plan, Kerrigan highlights five key objectives:
- Declare Opioid Crisis as a National Emergency: This action will require the federal government to commit the necessary funding for states to combat this issue.
- Increase Access to Treatment: Knowing that access to treatment can be the difference between life and death, Kerrigan proposed an increase in the number of detox and residential treatment beds. He called for the establishment of new recovery centers within the District and increased work with insurers, health care providers and lawmakers to provide more assistance to patients.
- Change Prescribing Behaviors of Doctors: Kerrigan said that, as part of the national emergency declaration, the federal government must take a more urgent approach to setting clear guidelines for physicians regarding the prescribing of opioids for pain. He also called on health plans to expand coverage for other forms of pain treatment, such as chiropractic, acupuncture and yoga.
- Increase Public Awareness: Through education in schools, on social media, in community gatherings, and beyond, Kerrigan called for increased public awareness of the dangers of opioids, reduce the stigma and publicize the options available for those at risk or facing addiction.
- Support Enforcement Against Illegal Drug Distribution: This includes support for local police departments, the State Police and District Attorneys, and federal authorities in their efforts to identify and stop the major traffickers, as well as funding for the expansion of programs that prioritize rehabilitation over incarceration for non-violent drug offenders, including programs within federal and state prisons and county Houses of Correction.