Link between behavioral health, opioid crisis being examined

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BOSTON (WWLP) – A special legislative committee is taking a closer look at the connection between behavioral health and the opioid crisis.

Behavioral health issues can range anywhere from anxiety and eating disorders, to substance abuse and violence. A 24-member special commission will spend the next year studying the way that Massachusetts deals with behavioral health, and its connection to substance abuse.

Rep. James Cantwell (D-Marshfield), who co-chairs the commission, told 22News that millions of taxpayer dollars are spent “downstream” when people suffering from behavioral health issues end up in jail or emergency rooms. The commission will explore ways to get people into treatment programs before they end up hurting themselves, or others.

“We clearly want to try to get people to not be using substances in the first place, or abusing them, and to get help if they do have a mental health capacity issue- to get help earlier before going to the hospital,” Cantwell said.

The commission has one year to research, with the goal of passing a behavioral health bill into law this legislative session.

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