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Bill Will Allow Some Massachusetts Inmates To Receive Medications For Opioid Addiction

Hampden County Sheriff Dept

Some local jails in western Massachusetts will be part of a pilot program under an opioid bill that passed in the final hours of the legislative session.

    Rather than being forced into withdrawal, some inmates will receive medications to treat their opioid addictions. 

The three-year pilot program authorized by the bill includes the Houses of Correction in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties.

" I think it is so important to  try to look at this as a mental health issue rather than a criminal issue." said State Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, a Springfield Democrat.

 Advocates say providing medication to inmates lessens the risk of a fatal overdose after they are released from jail.

The state Department of Corrections, which runs the prison system, will have to provide medications at four of its facilities starting in April 2019.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.