Governor Announces New Panel on Opioids

BOSTON — As the number of deaths from opioid-related overdoses rises, Gov. Charlie Baker is taking is appointing a 16-member working group assigned the task of putting together “specific, targeted, and tangible recommendations” by May to stem the tide. The group will be led by Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Healey, and include individuals working in government, law enforcement, and addiction treatment.

As he made the announcement, Baker stood in front of a display bearing alarming statistics, including the 978 deaths attributed to opioid-related overdoses in 2013, a 46{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} increase from the year before. Baker, who pledged to provide quarterly data on overdoses, said the 2014 death toll would be available in April. The working group will hold public meetings, assess the resources devoted to the problem, and make specific recommendations.

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