On Tuesday, January 23rd, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker delivered his 3rd State of the Union Address. Baker has been Governor since 2015 and went over a list of important information that has improved since he came in as Governor of the Commonwealth. “When Lieutenant Governor Polito and I began this journey three years ago, we set out to create a state government that worked well for the people who needed it most and would be as creative, thrifty and hard-working as the people of Massachusetts. And while much remains to be done, with your help, we’ve made great progress toward these objectives.” (Gov. Baker)
Budget deficit, homeless population, opioid epidemic, and the Department of Children and Families, are just a few of the important subjects the Governor discussed. From decreasing the deficit from $1 billion to $100 million without raising taxes to in 2015 having more than 1500 homeless families living in hotels and now in 2018 there are fewer than 60 families. That is a 95% reduction!
Is there really a reduction in overdose deaths?
Something I feel is extremely important to discuss is the opioid epidemic. According to Gov. Baker, “We began in the midst of an opioid crisis in which deaths, overdoses, and prescriptions had been growing by double digits for more than a decade. It was the worst case of negative momentum I’d ever seen. Today, with your help and support, we’ve reduced opioid prescribing 29%. And overdose deaths have dropped for the first time in over a decade by 10%.” According to another source, the rate of overdose deaths actually went UP 50% in the city of Boston alone. So how does this information make sense? What Gov. Baker did was use data ONLY from the first nine months of the year 2017. He did not count October, November, or December. Boston EMS data shows the following:
So, what happened? Fentanyl happened. With the increase in Fentanyl on the streets, doctors and EMS are seeing a major increase in overdose deaths.
Is the Governor Charlie Baker realy working to stop the Opioid Epidemic?
Is the Governor working hard to decrease substance use disorder and overdose deaths? Yes, I do believe he is trying hard to help. But there are so many hidden agendas in the political world it is hard to tell what is REALLY being done and if it is being done for the right reasons. Instead of focusing on just prescriptions and opening more methadone clinics, how about focusing on getting more beds for people wanting to be in recovery or having a safe place for people waiting for beds to stay so they don’t end up back out on the street while waiting for a bed to open up? How about working with insurance companies so they cover the cost of detox and recovery programs? There are many ways to actually work on getting the crisis under control. What are your thoughts? Vanderburgh House would love to hear how you feel about Gov. Baker and the Opioid Crisis!