You may have seen that opioid deaths are down in Massachusetts. It’s great news, but it’s not the whole story. To date, more than 1,400 residents have passed away from overdoses in 2017 and that’s still a very large number. Following the announcement of Governor Charlie Baker’s new plan to continue reducing overdose deaths, our CEO Kurt Isaacson joined Mike Nikitas of New England Cable News (NECN) to discuss the hard work still ahead of us.

“Naloxone – which is able to overturn overdoses – is widely used and that’s why people losing their lives to opioid overdoses is actually declining. So, it’s a good trend, but we have to keep our eye on the fact that overdoses overall are increasing, and that’s a problem.”

The issue remains so prevalent because access to substances is so easy, and there is still a general lack of awareness about the complexities of the disease. Baker’s proposed bill is a big step forward, tackling issues such as education. $3 million will be given to local schools to educate nurses and students on the dangers of drug use.

The proposal also allots substantial funds for increasing access to residential treatment, which – as Kurt told The Boston Globe – is great, but will be difficult given current payment rates.

Addiction is an epidemic, and there’s work to be done – but the numbers here at home are beginning to take a turn in the right direction. If you missed it, see the full interview below. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, get in touch Spectrum Health Systems at 1 (800) 366-7732 for inpatient services or 1 (800) 464-9555 for outpatient services.