Holyoke mayor calls for more access to addiction treatment after brother passes away

Hampden County

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse is mourning the loss of his brother who passed away after years of struggling with heroin addiction. 

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Mayor Morse described his brother, Douglas Morse, as “a good and caring man” who he was blessed to have in his life. He said for years, Doug struggled with heroin addiction and that his passing has become another reminder of the deadliness of addiction and the need for more access to effective treatment. 

I share this because I share this because we’ve lost too many people and it’s important that we never stop shining light on this epidemic. All across this state and country, it’s time we do better. I will keep up that fight in his honor.

Alex Morse, Holyoke Mayor

Several local organizations help fight substance use disorder. The Gandara Center in Springfield said one of the most important parts of recovery is support from family and friends.

“If there is open communication and there is support and there is empathy and participation in some of the services that people are receiving, then the healing process and recovery process can begin and continue,” said Lois Nesci, CEO of the Gandara Center.

The Gandara Center offers numerous recovery programs – as well as family and community services. Morse said fighting for more accessibility to addiction treatment centers in the western Massachusetts area is one of his top priorities.

The Holyoke mayor said he will keep the memory of his brother when he was at his best in life, how joyful it was to be around him as a brother and son adding that, “he was happiest about being a father to his beloved son, Gavin.” 

I was especially grateful, in recent years, that he was able to join me on the campaign trail. It meant the world to me to have my big brother by my side. I talked about him often on the campaign trail, about his struggles and his determination to overcome them. And just two weeks ago he joined me in Pittsfield to talk about his journey. He will no doubt continue to join me for as long as I live. 

I love you Doug. I would do anything to make sure you are safe, happy, and healthy. Give mom a big hug from all of us. 

Alex Morse, Holyoke Mayor

Mayor Morse is challenging Representative Richard Neal in the Democratic nomination for the 1st Congressional District.

He announced his run for the seat in July 2019 telling 22News some of his priorities include affordable healthcare, the opioid epidemic, reproductive rights, and climate change.

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