Governor Charlie Baker is seeking $5 million to support state and local law enforcement efforts to keep deadly synthetic opioid out of Massachusetts.
The anti-drug legislation allows for a regional approach to the state’s opioid crisis, by going after dealers who too often avoid arrest by moving their illegal operations to a nearby town.
“We wanna give departments the resources to coordinate with each other across their districts, essentially flooding the zone against the drug dealers who are peddling addiction and death across their communities,” said Governor Baker.
The constant movement of dealers from place to place adds to the challenge of apprehending those responsible for distributing fentanyl.
“If we share information and we work it across the state we’re much more effective. So that we’re not passing a person off from Pittsfield to Springfield, to Worcester, to Boston, and they’re just moving to the point of least resistance,” said Dudley Police Chief Steven Wojnar.
The bill also aims to help those struggling with opioid addiction get the treatment they need.
The $5 million would fund surveillance and overtime costs for officers in the field, who will also work to get buyers into treatment.
In 2017, there was a 4 percent decrease in opioid-related overdose deaths from 2016 but the presence of fentanyl in overdose deaths rose to nearly 90 percent so far this year.
The Governor launched the ‘fentanyl fix’ program back in April allowing officers to go after fentanyl traffickers, and he hopes this bill will provide them with the resources they need to keep Massachusetts safe.