How many times have you thought about a Boston Politician that the only reason why they come out to western Mass is to make sure you don’t forget who they are come election day.
That became increasing more clear to me as I sat inside of a Springfield City Hall meeting Tuesday night that sought to try to figure out why the city’s fatal overdose rate was so much higher, double then what the state was recording on a statewide basis.
A very measured Health and Human Services Secretary in Springfield, Helen Caulton Harris says it basically comes down to a failure to communicate.
You see the state believes that the city of Springfield has all that it needs to insure that it can protect its people.
The city contends that it needs more treatment beds, more money and more people to run prevention programs in order to save lives.
The issue comes to the forefront in the aftermath of numerous cases over the past year, all ending the same way.
A person takes a drug, laced with the powerful opiate fentanyl. They don’t think they will die. Nobody does. But they do.
It's startling but true.
And despite the successes of Boston in trying to reduce the death toll---despite the efforts of Plymouth County which seems to be the leader in getting a handle on it, at this end of the state, there is little hope to make a dent in the numbers.
Broken families and despair.
It will take money and people particularly in the poorer neighborhoods.
City Councilor Jesse Ledderman which spearheaded the meeting wants to write to state officials to make the case for additional help...a lot of help.
And what makes it more and more difficult is that there are programs in place that help.
Unfortunately, they are closed programs, open to those who commit themselves to treatment or who are in jail and who take advantage of the intervention.
Narcan in the hands of Springfield Police and Fire hopefully will help a little.
At a time when the city is at a turning point, with all the money generated from a casino that goes into the state coffers, isn’t it ironic that the city in its time of need can’t get what the experts say we really need?