Massachusetts Medical Society: Senator Markey to deliver keynote address at Massachusetts Medical Society Opioid Summit

Senator Markey to deliver keynote address at Massachusetts Medical Society Opioid Summit

Contact: Richard Gulla

Experts convened to discuss medication assisted treatment

Waltham, Mass. – United States Senator Edward J. Markey will deliver the keynote address at the Massachusetts Medical Society’s summit on opioids, Medication Assisted Treatment: Improving Access to Evidence-Based Care, to be held Monday, October 31, at the Society’s Waltham headquarters (860 Winter Street) from 8 a.m. to noon.

“The Medical Society along with many other groups have focused on prevention and education in addressing the opioid epidemic,” said Massachusetts Medical Society President James S. Gessner, M.D., “and those efforts are critical and must continue.”

“But we must also recognize that treatment for opioid addiction is a critical public health need, as access to evidence-based treatment programs and providers are limited. More access to treatment on demand is essential if we are to reduce the number of overdoses and provide hope to those suffering,” said Dr. Gessner.

The event is intended to raise awareness of the need for medication assisted treatment for substance use disorder. The Society is convening leaders in medicine, public health, policy, industry, and the community to discuss strategies to expand availability and access to evidence-based treatments for opioid addiction such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. 

Senator Markey has actively supported legislation to address the opioid epidemic and has been an advocate for appropriate treatment. In his keynote address, Reducing the Demand for Opioids Through Effective Treatment, Senator Markey will underscore the need for medication assisted treatment to address the epidemic.

"If we are going to reduce the supply for heroin, fentanyl and illicit prescription opioids,” Senator Markey says, “we have to reduce the demand through treatment. Unfortunately, for too long, because of outdated federal restrictions, effective medication assisted treatment for opioid addiction was severely limited. When effective medication-assisted treatment is made available, people’s lives can be saved. I look forward to addressing the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Opioid Summit about how we can ensure treatment is available when and where it is needed most.”

The Medical Society has gathered more than a dozen national and local experts on the topic for this summit to speak to such topics as the treatment of addiction as a disease, the importance of psychological treatment and behavioral support, models of care, and supporting physicians and providers in treating opioid use disorders.

Participants include: 

  • Daniel Alford, M.D., Director of the Safe and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education Program at Boston University School of Medicin
  • Monica Bharel, M.D., M.P.H., Commissioner of Public Health, Commonwealth of Massachusett
  • Leo Beletsky, J.D., M.P.H., Associate Professor, School of Law & Bouve College of Health Sciences, Northeastern Universit
  • Paul Bowman, Certified Methadone/Buprenorphine Advocate, National Alliance Medication Assisted Recover
  • Kathryn Cates-Wessell, Executive Director, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
  • Kenneth Duckworth, M.D., Medical Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • Jessie M. Gaeta, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Boston Health Care for the Homeles
  • Barbara L. Herbert, M.D., F.A.S.A.M., President, Massachusetts Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine
  • John F. Kelly, Ph.D., Elizabeth R. Spallin Associate Professor of Psychiatry in Addiction Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Director, Recovery Research Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Peter J. Koutoujian, J.D., M.S., Sheriff, Middlesex County
  • Colleen T. Labelle, B.S.N., R.N.-B.C., C.A.R.N., Program Director, Boston University Office-Based Opioid Treatment Buprenorphine Progra
  • James J. O’Connell, M.D., President, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program
  • Michael Otto, Ph.D., Professor, Boston University Psychological and Brain Science
  • Josiah (Jody) D. Rich, M.D., M.P.H., Director, Brown University Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights
  • Luis T. Sanchez, M.D., Addiction Psychiatry
  • Alexander Y. Walley, M.D., M.Sc., Medical Director, Opioid Overdose Prevention Pilot Program, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

The program will be hosted by MMS President James S. Gessner, M.D. and moderated by Dennis M. Dimitri, M.D. immediate past president of the MMS and current Chair of the MMS Task Force on Opioid Therapy and Physician Communication. 

The Massachusetts Medical Society, with more than 25,000 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts. The Society, under the auspices of NEJM Group, publishes the New England Journal of Medicine, a leading global medical journal and web site, and Journal Watch alerts and newsletters covering 13 specialties. The Society is also a leader in continuing medical education providing accredited and certified activities across the globe for physicians and other health care professionals.  Founded in 1781, MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country. For more information please visit,, or

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