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Report Looks At Opioid Crisis In Rural Western Massachusetts

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Progress on combating the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts has been uneven. While the rate of drug overdose deaths decreased statewide from 2017-2018, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, there was a 73 percent increase in the four western counties.

The Massachusetts Health Policy Forum recently released a new report examining the impact of the opioid crisis in small and rural communities in western Massachusetts.

The report was developed by a team led by Constance Horgan, director of the Institute for Behavioral Health at Brandeis University.

She spoke with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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