Western Massachusetts sheriffs call for more addiction treatment beds

Hampden County

BOSTON (WWLP) – A bill before the legislature right now would reduce the number of addiction treatment beds in western Massachusetts.

Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi testified in front of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery Thursday, urging lawmakers to consider voting against Senate Bill 11- 45.

The legislation Sheriff Cocchi is opposing would eliminate all Section 35 addiction treatment beds in western Massachusetts.

Currently, the Hampden County Jail offers a rehabilitation program that inmates can take part in while they are incarcerated, something that Sheriff Cocchi said has helped hundreds of western Massachusetts residents.

“I just firmly believe that the citizens of Hampden County as well as western Massachusetts need fair and equitable addiction treatment options as well as program equity as far as the length of stay in these programs,” Sheriff Cocchi said.

Right now the average stay around the Commonwealth for addiction treatment is 24 days, the program at Hampden County extends that to 48 days.

Sheriff Cocchi urged committee members to go check out the Hampden County facility before voting on this legislation.

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