WSANA Applauds Measure in Gov Baker’s Opiate CARE Act

By Seth Daniel

The Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association (WSANA) has taken the rare step of sounding off on state matters, voting unanimously to write a letter of support for a key provision in Gov. Charlie Baker’s Opiate CARE Act proposal.

Baker released the CARE Act on Nov. 14, and the proposed legislation has scores of provisions and new ideas to attack the epidemic – which is at ground zero in the WSANA area.

The one particular measure that has made inroads with the WSANA group is the idea to petition the federal government to allow Methadone to be dispensed from pharmacies and doctor’s offices. The area is currently burdened by at least two large Methadone Clinics with about 1,300 clients.

President George Stergios said he believes this provision in the proposed state law could immediately act to dilute the problems faced by WSANA neighbors due to Methadone Clinic patients who linger in the area after treatment.

“What I like in particular is allow Methadone to be dispensed directly out of a doctor’s office or a pharmacy,” he said. “I think it would be a fantastic thing. That would effectively make every CVS and Walgreen’s around the state become a small Methadone Clinic. There would be probably two or three people coming in on average every day. That would make it very inefficient for the drug dealers to track them down and prey upon them.”

Stergios made a motion that the letter ask Baker to do this as quickly as possible, taking advantage of the recent emergency declaration made by President Donald Trump regarding the opiate crisis.

South End Forum Moderator Steve Fox – who visited WSANA Tuesday – said he thought it was a great idea as well.

“That would make a monster huge, huge impact,” he said. “It would allow cities and towns outside of Boston to be able to offer this service through pharmacies.”

The CARE Act also has new stipulations for access to treatment, education about addiction for young people, accountability measures for prescribers and other federal waiver requests.

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