What does opioid prescription levels being down mean for western Massachusetts?

Hampden County

The White House on Tuesday said opioid prescription levels have decreased by 25 percent. They also pointed out a slowing in the growth rate for overdose deaths, and large seizures of illegal drugs.

The Center for Human Development is one of the largest social services organizations in western Massachusetts. CHD medical professionals attribute the local decline in opioids to better education.

Dr. Jalil Johnson said, “Education is a huge component here and a huge factor. Educating providers and prescribers so they are aware of how they can address the problem and decrease the likelihood of people becoming addicted.”

In Massachusetts, there were more than 1600 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2018 alone.

CHD told 22News that although opioid prescriptions are down, a lot of work remains to be done. 

Ben Craft, vice president of Community Development for CHD said, “I think one issue that comes up for us quite a bit is still dealing with the stigma of addiction and helping raise awareness in the community. People suffering from addiction truly have a disease and provide them with the highest level of services possible.”

Under the Baker-Polito Administration, 2018 was the second consecutive year Massachusetts has seen fewer opioid-related overdose deaths.

The Center for Human Development said that education and access to treatment and care will be key to eliminating opioid addiction.

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