On April 9th, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the City of Boston’s addiction and recovery services would be getting an upgrade, taking a huge step towards one of the more personal platforms of his campaign for the mayor’s seat.
“My administration is committed to bringing new support to the recovery community as part of our public health and public safety plans,” said Mayor Walsh in a prepared statement. “We’re connecting the dots to make sure people get access to treatment.”
The AP, reported that many heroin addicts across the country struggle to find beds in treatment centers, and they also have to pay for the expensive services that insurance companies don’t pay for.
Collaborating with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, a grant and research organization that works to expand access to health care services in Mass, the city will create an expert advisory committee to evaluate the status of addiction and recovery services in Boston. Their work will build into a study that is expected this year, and will lay the foundation for a new Office of Recovery Services that will run out of the Boston Public Health Commission, and it will be funded by 300,000 dollars of Mayor Walsh’s 2015 fiscal budget.
“Despite significant and historic health care reform in the Commonwealth, treatment for mental health and substance use disorders remains challenging in terms of access, capacity and cost. I think we can all agree that the current system is complex, overburdened and in need of reform,” said Audrey Shelto, president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield foundation in a prepared statement.
Mass state police said there were 185 deaths in four months from November to February due to heroin overdose. Governor Deval Patrick declared a state public health emergency at the end of March due to the increase in heroin and opioid addiction.
Since 2000, the number of deaths as a result of heroin and opioid addiction has jumped from 363 to 642 in 2011.