Massachusetts Medical Society: NEW POLL: Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly support allowing municipalities to establish overdose prevention centers

NEW POLL: Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly support allowing municipalities to establish overdose prevention centers

BOSTON – Seventy percent (70%) of Massachusetts voters support passing state legislation to allow cities and towns to establish overdose prevention centers, according to a new Beacon Research poll released today by Massachusetts for Overdose Prevention Centers (MA4OPC).

Overdose prevention centers are legally authorized facilities where people can safely consume pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of trained health care workers. These facilities are proven to prevent overdose deaths and to increase access to treatment by connecting people with counseling, medical help, and recovery services.

“As a medical provider, I know overdose prevention centers will save the lives of many people struggling with addiction,” said Miriam Komaromy, MD, Medical Director of Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center for Addiction. “It’s encouraging that an overwhelming number of citizens agree that overdose prevention centers are a commonsense way to help keep people safe.”

According to the new poll, over three-quarters of voters (76%) see opioid use in Massachusetts as a major problem. Nearly as many (73%) believe the government should be doing more to address the issue. Almost 8-in-10 voters (77%) would rather see the state respond to the opioid epidemic as a public health problem, instead of a law enforcement issue.

“Since the Massachusetts Medical Society leveraged extensive research and data to inform its decision to advocate for the establishment of an overdose prevention center in the Commonwealth in 2017, subsequent evidence has only fortified our position that such facilities save lives and offer pathways to medically appropriate treatment and rehabilitative services for those living with substance use disorder, a chronic disease,” said Dr. Barbara S. Spivak, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society. “As disparities and overdoses caused by synthetic drugs like fentanyl continue to rise and ravage families and communities, it is clear the majority of residents of the Commonwealth agree with physicians in their belief that the time is now to deploy a proven harm reduction tool that can save the lives of our patients.”

Last year was the highest recorded year for opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts, with 2,357 lives lost. Since 2016, overdose deaths have increased by 9.1 percent statewide.

“We know that overdose prevention centers can be a pathway to recovery, giving people access to counseling, medical services, and treatment at a critical intervention point,” said Maryanne Frangules, Executive Director of Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR). “As someone who works every day with people in recovery and their families, it’s heartening that Massachusetts voters recognize overdose prevention centers as an essential tool toward recovery.”

The Massachusetts legislature is considering a bill filed by Representatives Dylan Fernandes, Marjorie Decker, and Senator Julian Cyr (H.1981, S.1242) that would give municipalities looking for new harm reduction tools the authority to establish overdose prevention centers. According to the new poll, there is bipartisan support for this legislation, with majority support among Democrats (85%), unaffiliated voters (63%), and Republicans (53%).

MA4OPC is a statewide coalition of more than 30 organizations committed to establishing overdose prevention centers in Massachusetts. The coalition — including major Massachusetts hospitals and providers, leading medical and public health groups, and nonprofit organizations — supports efforts to save lives, expand harm reduction strategies, and link people to treatment and recovery support services.

The survey, conducted by Beacon Research and sponsored by the ACLU of Massachusetts, interviewed 603 Massachusetts registered voters online. Slight weights were applied to ensure the sample accurately reflects the demographic profile of the Massachusetts electorate.

For poll results, go to:

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