Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, today released the following statement in response to the House’s vote on legislation addressing opioid addiction prevention and treatment:
“The unanimous Massachusetts House vote on the opioid bill sends a message loud and clear: addiction is a public health concern, not a criminal justice issue. We are grateful for the House’s decision to reject involuntary detention of individuals suffering from addiction. If Massachusetts is serious about ending the opioid crisis, we need to invest in treatment, not coercion.
“We cannot incarcerate our way out of addiction. At the same time, we must care for all people suffering from substance use disorder, and we know that Medication Assisted Treatment improves addiction treatment outcomes for people in jail or prison. Lives are on the line. For this reason, we appreciate the House’s adoption of a Medication Assisted Treatment pilot program at six state facilities — and we will keep fighting to guarantee the availability of life-saving treatment for people suffering from addiction at all jails and prisons across the Commonwealth.”