**MEDIA ADVISORY** McGovern Joins Opioid Task Force Event with State, Local Leaders

Today, October 5, at 11:30AM, Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) will join national, state, and local leaders to talk about the opioid crisis in Massachusetts and their work to address it. The event is titled, “Federal, State and Local Perspectives on the Opioid Crisis: Accomplishments, Challenges and Priorities,” and will focus on progress made and the work ahead.

Opiate abuse in the 47 communities in Franklin and Hampshire counties has increased dramatically in recent years. Since 2011, opioid overdoses have risen 280 percent. The number of deaths in 2011 has gone from 13 to 46 in 2013 and first 3 months of 2014. The opioid fatality rate has gone from 5.4 per 100,000 to 21.5 per 100,000. This is far above the 2011 national average of 12.2 and the Massachusetts rate of 10.1.

Because of the high cost of prescription drugs, many prescription drug addicts are turning to heroin as it sells for 4-5 dollars per bag. On March 27, 2014, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a public health state of emergency in response to the increase in opiate abuse across Massachusetts.


  • Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02)
  • Mary Lou Leary – Deputy Director of State, Local and Tribal Affairs from the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy
  • Office of the Attorney General, Amy Karangekis, Assistant Attorney General
  • Dr. Monica Bharel, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • State Representatives Paul Mark, Stephen Kulik and Susannah Whipps Lee
  • Opioid Task force Co-Chairs: Registrar John Merrigan, Franklin County Sherriff Chris Donelan and Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan 
  • Kat Allen, Coordinator, Partnership For YouthFranklin Regional Council of Governments
  • Tim Purington, Director of Prevention ServicesTapestry Health
  • Levin Schwartz, Director of Clinical and Reentry ServicesFranklin County Sheriff’s Office
  • Dr. Robert Roose, Chief Medical Officer of Addiction Services Providence Behavioral Health Hospital
  • Abbi Cushing, Recovery CoachRecovery Support Specialists

WHAT: Federal, State and Local Perspectives on the Opioid Crisis:

Accomplishments, Challenges and Priorities, an Opioid Task Force Event

WHERE: Greenfield Community College, 1 College Dr, Greenfield, MA 01301

WHEN: TODAY, October 5, 2015, at 11:30AM – 2:00PM