opioid | WAMC


A flyer for the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's Voices For Recovery 2020: Days Of Hope events
Northern Berkshire Community Coalition

On Saturday, the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition holds a self-guided Recovery Walk as part of a week-long event called Voices for Recovery acknowledging the end of National Recovery Month. The event acknowledges community members celebrating recovery from substance misuse, as well as those lost to it. Susan Cross is the NBCC’s coordinator for the Beacon Recovery Community Center, which has held virtual and limited in-person meetings in North Adams to guide people looking for support. She tells WAMC that this year’s walk comes at a time when the recovery community has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative logo
Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative

While Massachusetts is reporting a decrease in opioid-related overdose deaths statewide in 2019, the western half of the state is still seeing those numbers rise. Jennifer Kimball of the Berkshire Opioid Addiction Prevention Collaborative says there are difficulties in tracking overdose deaths in smaller communities. She spoke with WAMC Berkshire Bureau Chief Josh Landes about why rural portions of the state struggle more than urban areas, and how better data collection can inform efforts to prevent the state’s 2,000 yearly deaths from opioid-related incidents.

http://www.countyamb.com/ / County Ambulance

According to first responders in Berkshire County’s largest community, calls for overdoses and alcohol related emergencies are skyrocketing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.
Composite Image by Dave Lucas (WAMC / cdc.gov)

The next scheduled trial over the drug industry's liability in the opioid crisis has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Number Of Opioid Deaths Decreases In Ulster County

Feb 19, 2020

Opioid overdose deaths are down in a county that had the second highest per-capita rate of opioid fatalities of any county in New York in 2018.

WAMC, Allison Dunne

A state senator from the Hudson Valley says more action is needed to help reverse the trend of climbing death tolls from opioids. He applauds Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recently released plan to combat New York’s heroin and opioid epidemic but says more is needed.

The insurer Cigna has agreed to end a policy of requiring doctors to fill out extra paperwork before giving patients a medication used to treat opioid addiction.

As students head back to the classroom, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney wants to start the school year swinging in the fight against heroin and opioid abuse in the Hudson Valley. He is urging parents, teachers, coaches and community members to work together.

  The opioid crisis has worried officials across the Northeast.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Representative Paul Tonko — a Democrat from the 20th district — tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about a recent forum he hosted in Albany. 


New York State is limiting opioid drug prescriptions to seven days of painkillers following a patient's initial visit to a doctor.

photo of pills
wikimedia commons

New York lawmakers are considering legislation that would limit the amount of prescription opioid drugs patients can get after an initial visit to the doctor's office, part of an effort to curb a statewide addiction crisis.

Oxycodone pills

Days after unveiling legislation to combat the opioid epidemic and stop mass incarceration of low-level drug offenders, Hudson Valley Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney held a telephone town hall Tuesday night to discuss the problem in his district. Constituents raised issues of educating students, offering more support meetings, and mandating insurance companies to better cover treatment.

As Massachusetts moves on several fronts to respond to the opioid addiction crisis, the state has closed what police and prosecutors said was a loophole in the state’s drug trafficking laws.

A new law criminalizing the trafficking of the powerful drug fentanyl goes into effect in Massachusetts Tuesday.

  The opioid crisis cuts across state lines.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Representative Richard Neal tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock he’s working on legislative fixes to try to combat heroin. 


In the midst of a opioid addiction crisis in Massachusetts, there is an effort to close a loophole in the state’s drug trafficking laws.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced the filing of legislation Monday to make it a crime to traffic fentanyl — a synthetic painkiller that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin. Healey said drug cartels have figured out how to manufacture fentanyl and are sending it out on the streets where many heroin addicts are unknowingly using it.


Massachusetts U.S. Senator Edward Markey has been in western Massachusetts the last two days. Markey met with mayors in North Adams, Northampton, Pittsfield and Springfield.

After meeting with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno in his city hall office Tuesday afternoon, Markey said the common denominator to help boost the economies of the cities of western Massachusetts is transportation.  He said he is hopeful Congress can strike a deal to keep federal funds flowing to highway, bridge, and rail projects for the next three years.


Like the administration before him, Governor Charlie Baker is calling opioid abuse in Massachusetts a public health emergency. The Republican has unveiled initial steps his administration plans to take in fighting heroin and prescription drug abuse and addiction.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Like the administration before him, Governor Charlie Baker is calling opioid abuse in Massachusetts a public health emergency. On Thursday, the Republican unveiled initial steps his administration plans to take in fighting heroin and prescription drug abuse and addiction.


The opioid and heroin epidemic is increasingly being felt in emergency rooms and jails across the country. Meanwhile, a community organization in Berkshire County has been focusing on the crisis for some time.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition honored its members’ work at its annual meeting Tuesday in Williamstown, Massachusetts. But, talk also focused around an issue gaining regional and national attention.


New England governors will meet next week to discuss the growing problem of opioid abuse and addiction in the region.

Karen DeWitt

It was a day of drug policy discussion in Albany, as lawmakers held a forum on legalizing marijuana,  proposed bills to combat heroin addiction and overdoses, and made progress towards a medical marijuana program.

Sponsors of a bill to legalize marijuana held a forum that in part focused on the nuts and bolts of how to implement a system that would permits sales and impose taxes on the drug.

Matthew Kang, flickr

The New York State Senate Majority Coalition Monday announced the formation of a joint task force on heroin and the opioid addition. The Hudson Valley is represented via the vice chair, and three members.