An opioid community forum in Springfield addressed the city’s effort to combat the opioid epidemic, and how to get more people into treatment.
“When an addict is ready to go you can’t tell them to hold on for a couple weeks, and you can’t cure them in 48 or 72 hours,” said Springfield Mayor, Domenic Sarno. “I need beds and wrap around treatment facilities.”
The forum took place at the Caring Health Center, which received $75,000 to increase the number of clinicians that work with patients with a substance abuse disorder.
“We do see the numbers are alarming,” said Tania Barber, president, and CEO of the Caring Health Center. “In the short period of time we’ve had this program, we’ve had hundreds of people come in with the addiction.”
The Caring Health Center is one resource people can turn to who are struggling with substance abuse, but those who spoke at the opioid forum agreed that there needs to more treatment options to ensure nobody gets left out.
“We need to work with our legislators to bring funding into the city of Springfield and the western region to have more treatment options,” said Helen Caulton-Harris, Commissioner of Springfield’s Health and Human Services.
Caulton-Harris said there’s been approximately 1,000 opioid overdoses in Springfield each year. Caulton-Harris also said there were 81 opioid overdose deaths in Springfield from 2015 to 2016.