June 7, 2016 -Springfield, Mass- Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni along with Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe, Dr. Mark Keroack, President and CEO of Baystatehealth, and Dr. Robert Roose, Vice President of Mercy Behavioral Healthcare, have announced the formation of the Hampden County Addiction Task-force.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni stated, “The opiate and addiction crisis currently tearing through our communities requires a multi-faceted approach from stakeholders across Hampden County. For those struggling with this disease; they need to be afforded the opportunity to seek treatment. Additionally, we need to intensify current prevention and education efforts to reach our young people about the dangers of addiction.” Hampden District Attorney Gulluni went on to say, “Make no mistake, those who wish to profit from addiction and market this poison in our neighborhoods will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe stated, “My experience has taught me that challenges are best met by a community working together, rather than individual agencies pulling in separate directions. That is why the Sheriff’s Department has established 300 community partnerships to help re-enter offenders. District Attorney Gulluni gets this. That is why I commend him for stepping-up and taking a leadership role in this community-wide effort. I’m putting on my helmet and cleats on and playing whatever position on the team is asked of me. Shoulder-to-shoulder, we’ll win the battle for our streets and for our future and help others not destroy their lives.”
The Hampden County Addiction Task-force (HCAT) is a collaboration of community resources, law enforcement (local and state), health care institutions, service providers and community coalitions whose goal is to focus on a county wide approach to address drug overdoses, addiction and prevention.
Initially the taskforce will focus on several objectives:
• Real time data collection
• Study and assess the necessary treatment beds needed county wide
• Develop standardize messaging for addiction and addiction related issues
• Provide a forum for law enforcement, health care institutions, service providers, schools and community coalitions to share best practices in prevention and education.
• Leverage existing assets in seeking out new funding opportunities county wide for addiction prevention